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10 Social Media Pet Peeves

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


In social media we’re bound to irritate each other from time to time. Nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes and rub each other the wrong way.

Even so, lately on my various social media sites, I’ve been feeling bombarded by some annoying tactics. They’re the kinds of things that make me want to unfollow people.

Fortunately I’m not a rash or vindictive person, and I don’t rush off to exterminate followers at the first offense.

But here are 10 of my pet peeves—social media faux pas for writers:

Pet Peeve #1: When followers send messages asking us to “check out” something. This happens a lot with new followers asking me to visit their facebook page, website, book trailer, or amazon book page. I NEVER go “check out” those sites. Those kind of messages are spam, make a bad first impression, and could do more harm than good. Most of us don’t want to feel like people are following us to gain “business.” Instead we’d rather make a genuine connection.

Pet Peeve #2: When followers send massive Facebook messages. This is probably one of my biggest pet peeves, because of the nature of getting flooded with everyone else’s responses to that message. Those kinds of messages are impersonal and feel like spam. If we really need to do a group message, make sure to let everyone know NOT to respond to the group message but to send you a private note instead.

Pet Peeve #3: When people ask for more followers. It’s natural to get excited when we’re close to reaching certain follower milestones (i.e. 100 blog followers or 500 twitter followers). But when we make a point of asking for more followers, it makes us sound desperate. It could make people think we’re only concerned about numbers and thus cause our current followers to feel unappreciated.

Pet Peeve #4: When followers use graphic pictures. This applies mostly to Pinterest. Soon after I joined, I quickly realized I couldn’t auto follow back. I was getting some very steamy pictures in my nice “happy” homepage stream. My laptop sits on the kitchen table in plain view of my kids, and I don’t want to have to worry about what they happen to see as I browse my SM sites. Even if a writer’s brand is erotic, I still think it’s wise to be sensitive to the fact that many of us are Moms with kids running around us.

Pet Peeve #5: When followers have potty mouths. Again, many of us have kids who see our twitter streams or facebook pages. That should be reason enough for us to be careful what we say. But in addition, we need to remember that we’re trying to present ourselves as professionals. If we wouldn’t complain, swear, or talk dirty in a real life professional office job, then we probably should think twice before doing so in our online professional writer’s job.

Pet Peeve #6: When followers over-do their conversations. When we post numerous tweets, pins, or updates, we risk clogging up our followers’ streams with our chatter. I have eased this problem on twitter by having “lists” where I group my followers. Even so, I’ve occasionally had to remove someone from one of my lists because his or her “noise” became overbearing.

Pet Peeve #7: When people get on social media only to promote. Social media just doesn’t work as a traditional promotional tool. People aren’t going to care about comments that promote our book, blog post, or event . . . unless they have a connection to us. So we can’t just show up on social media when we’re ready to promote. We have to be there the rest of the time too, building connections. Then when it comes time to promote, people will listen.

Pet Peeve #8: When people ignore personal messages. I try not to overlook anyone who connects with me on a personal level. I’ve had authors ignore me, and I realized I didn’t like that. I’d expected them to acknowledge me, even if briefly. Since I didn’t like being ignored, I decided to try not to overlook those who take the time to chat with me. Sure, it’s not always easy to keep up. But I’ve made it a priority to interact.

Pet Peeve #9: When new followers are friendly to earn favors. This has happens when someone starts visiting our blogs, makes a point of being friendly, and then after a short time asks us to do something for them—even something as simple as “like” their facebook page. Those kinds of requests usually leave me feeling icky and used.

Pet Peeve #10: When people make social media all about themselves. If all we do is post about our books, our blogs, our awards, our good news, our kids, etc., eventually our followers are going to think we’re conceited, even if we’re not. And pride is a sure way to alienate followers and fans. Instead, we need to find a balance of sharing about ourselves along with looking out for the needs and interests of others.

What about you? What are your social media pet peeves? Any that you’d add to my list?

63 comments:

  1. Hi Jody, I've got a great one for you! Constant automated tweets promoting either a book or blog posts!

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  2. Ah, good one, Christy! Yes, that's a pet peeve too!

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  3. I agree with everthing you said, Jody. I constantly get spam. I also hate being ignored in messages, because I am never spamming. I think it's rude, we're all busy. Thanks for another great post!

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  4. I've got a couple for you.

    Right now, my FB feed is getting fully daily with posts of Advocare. I'm happy for my friends who use those products, but I'm tired of seeing all of the pictures of what they looked like before, how much they've lost now, who has signed up, when they're placing an order, etc. I sell Mary Kay and I try really really hard to not clutter up my personal FB page with nothing but Mary Kay. I'll admit that when I need a guest at an event or have an occasional special, I'll post that. Also (fair warning) to help one my of my customers in the current makeover contest, I'm going to be asking for votes for her beginning June 5 and until the public voting ends (the 15th I think), and I'll do that because I don't care about the prize that a consultant will get, I want her to make it to the finals and have a chance for the company to donate $5000 to her favorite charity.

    My other pet peeve is on Google + and it's involving the games. I get an email every time someone shares a post directly with me. And it's usually a thanks for a gift or something like that. I have had to disable the email notifications on the games settings. I will check the notification page when I play and accept any that I want to. But it still annoys me that people feel that they have to share every little accomplishment in the game with the world.

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    1. I agree about the game posts. When I fIrst started playing games on FB I would share the posts they wanted me to. When I realized how it cluttered the newsfeed I stopped sharing anything relating to the games I play.

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  5. I miss the conversations. My social media time is very limited right now, so when I'm able to spend a few minutes on Twitter or Facebook, I bypass links and look for conversations.

    Links are so important, and I share some too, but I like the interaction with other followers and friends.

    Great post, Jody!

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  6. I admit to having unknowingly done a few of these myself. Insert cheesy grin here. But since I'm chronologically older, I should be wiser, right? Yuh huh.
    I am most annoyed by foul language and inappropriate images.
    My Wordpress/Gravatar accounts got hacked yesterday, so *I* was sending stuff!! Talk about mortification! The internet is a wonderful place to visit, only if one knows the map.

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  7. I've had a couple of facebook messages from aquaintenances this past month that have asked me to "like" their page or to please support their business, and then... and then...

    P.S. Sorry about your mom.

    And NO! I'm not even kidding.

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  8. Oh Heather, that's that's really insensitive! It's one thing if someone asks you for help and they don't know about your mom's passing. But to tack their condolences on at on at the end of a request for help is just plain rude IMHO.

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  9. Jody, That loud "Amen" you heard came from North Texas, where I sit nodding in agreement with your points.

    Let me add a Twitter pet peeve--when two people whose tweets I actually follow (and it's a short list--I don't automatically follow back) engage in a long back-and-forth dialogue instead of using direct messages. If I wanted to hear them gossip, I'd move into the house next door and hang over the back fence. C'mon, folks. The @ label is for messages that we all see.

    Thanks for bringing this up.

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  10. Great post, Jody! I especially like the point you made about not making our social media all about us. I have a couple of friends who use Facebook as their daily journal and list EVERYTHING they do every single day. It's hard because I like hearing what these people are up to, but to have a daily run-down get's old and doesn't produce a conversation. It's vital that we use our social media outlets as a way to engage in a conversation.

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  11. The potty mouth really bothers me. Those smaller curse words don't offend me. But when somebody drops the F-bomb....that's really rubs me the wrong way.

    Here's my struggle....

    Last week, my debut came out. So I've been visiting LOTS of blogs, doing interviews and guest posts. I want these people who so graciously host me on their blog to be rewarded with some extra traffic. So I feel like, lately, I'm constantly tweeting about my book or my interviews. I don't want to not tweet these posts and come across as unappreciative to those who are supporting me. But I also don't want to clog people's twitter streams with me, me, me.

    Feels like a catch-22!

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  12. I'm totally going to write a blog post about this struggle. I have to imagine I'm not alone!

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  13. Katie, you are so NOT alone in your struggle! But let me reassure you that you're doing a good job balancing everything. You've been on your SM's chatting, building relationships, and giving to others long before the release of your book. So now that your book is here, we're all excited for you and want to support you. You're not over-promoting. I think you're still balancing well with personal info, joining in conversations, and at the same time sharing info. about your release.

    Yes, I wanted to support those who hosted me during my release as a thank you. So I tweeted and shared links on FB in order to help bring traffic to their sites. But I also tried not to over-do it on any one SM site. I tried to alternate between Twitter and FB so that neither one were overly inundated with my promotion. But the fact remains, around the release of a book, we WILL be sharing more about our books. It just can't be all we do.

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  14. So glad to know I'm not alone in this little struggle!

    I think I'm paranoid because recently, my hubby joined the fun and exciting world of twitter. He follows a total of ten people. Last night we were talking and he said, "Most people just RT other people. I like when people tweet funny things about their life." And I said, "Do you read my tweets?" And he so lovingly said, "They're mostly about your book." AH! Gotta love his honesty, right?

    I guess it's a good reminder, because although I've been on Twitter for a long time and don't generally tweet so many self-focused tweets, my new followers won't know that. It's a good reminder - just like you said - that sharing about our books is good, it just can't be ALL we do.

    Love this post today, Jody.

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  15. My pet peeve is when someone follows me on twitter and then immediately unfollows me when I follow them back. This site helps me keep those people from clogging up my twitter feed: http://www.friendorfollow.com/

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  16. Jody, I completely agree with all of these, especially the first one. Sometimes I unfollow those people just because it seems the only reason they followed me was to get ME to follow THEM so they could tweet to me about their book. Lame. Like you said, it's about a relationship.

    And Heather, I can't believe people would be that insensitive. That would make me want to throw something. I know people can be insensitive without meaning to, but come on! Really? Using condolenses as part of advertisement to attempt to "endear" yourself to someone? That's a new low.

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  17. Couldn't agree more.

    I'm a social media coordinator by day, so I see so much of this!

    I'm teaching a social media marketing class at a writers conference this weekend and I'm going to direct people to this blog post, Jody. :-)

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  18. Jody, thank you! Thank you for being brave enough to address the issues we've all thought about and more. I never want to "unfollow" folks either, but when they auto-tweet about every minute or two, it totally gets annoying. Yes, it makes me remember their name--but not in a good way. It's easy to spot those who genuinely want to connect, versus those who are just a walking promo add.


    Also, like others have said here--I'm not a prude, but profanity and unsavory junk just for the shock value doesn't interest me.

    You've made me re-think social media in a whole new light.

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  19. Jody, this is an excellent, educating post. I've had to be careful about over-doing my tweets and bombarding my follower's stream. I probably violated it the day before Mother's Day, but gosh darn it... I was praising my mom!!! And, I say, let the rule can and must be broken if you are praising and bragging on your mom. LOL. ;) Your #5 & #10 is my WORST. Like I said in a tweet to you, I had to UNFOLLOW a wannabe "comedian" because her tweets are consistently hateful, bully in nature, and vulgar. I don't see the humor in being hateful. Doesn't work on me and certainly doesn't make me chuckle. I'm considering unfollowing someone because of #10 -- it's always, "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia."

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  20. I follow Katie Ganshert, so I'd love to reassure her that she is doing a great job of being balanced. :)

    I tend to think of Twitter like being at a conference. Part of being there is to make connections for your business, so at some point in conversing, you HAVE to promote. The most successful people are the ones that don't promote 24/7, don't throw business cards at every person that passes, but instead engage in conversation, speak favorably about others in the business, and yeah, promote.

    I get annoyed with the automatic tweeting of links within groups ("I'll tweet yours, you tweet mine"). Even with my favorite people on Twitter, I only tweet the link if it is something I READ and especially liked. Sometimes I skip tweeting the link if I see it's already been tweeted a bunch of times by others in similar streams.

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  21. Jody, this is such a great list! I've stumbled across nearly all of them at some point or another. One of my other SM pet peeves is kind of silly. Whenever I see a new follower's twitter bio is 100% about their book, I feel like I've just been followed so they can tell me about their book. Like you said, I'm looking for a connection and to get to know new followers. Sure, I want to hear if they're writers and authors, but what else do they have going on in their lives? What other connections can we make?

    And I'd like to echo what others have said, Katie G. is doing a great job of balancing her social media. I love following her. :)

    Jody, thanks for the reminder about how to use social media well! We're all on a learning curve with this.

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  22. This is a great list and has most of my pet peeves as well. I do have to disagree with #4 though. : )

    I'm an erotic romance author, that's my "brand". Boyfriend of the Week and posting "mancandy" are part of that brand. I don't post nudity, but I've definitely posted sexy couples pics and shirtless men. So I see the onus being on the follower. If you go to my Pinterest I have "safe" boards - what I'm reading, concerts I've been to etc. But I also have inspiration boards for each of my books. And if I'm writing a book called MELT INTO YOU about BDSM romance, then that board will probably have some sexy stuff. But people clearly see that and can follow specific boards, they don't have to follow all. They have the choice. Autofollowing anyone is at your own risk.

    People have a choice. Even on my blog, there are options to just subscribe to the writing posts so someone doesn't get any non-writing posts in their inbox, I know there are people who don't follow me because I write erotic but follow me because I talk about writing. So they have options to only get that slice of me and skip the romance writer part.

    But saying an erotic writer shouldn't post sexy stuff is like saying a Christian writer shouldn't post Bible quotes because it may offend someone. If I'm following a Christian writer, I know to expect some religious content.

    Hope that makes sense. : )

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  23. These are fantastic things to keep in mind. I especially hate #2, and I've been noticing the same thing on Pinterest as well. They need to get some good filtering going on their or something. But great list!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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  24. I miss conversation on Twitter..
    I scroll down through my feed looking for things to comment on and reply to but my feed is over 95% links! I find lots of good links to retweet.. but very little to comment on. Once upon a time there were more funny one-liners, questions, and such in my feed and people would interact back and forth quite a bit. (Am I just following the wrong people now, or has this really declined over all?)

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  25. I hate #7 - If I would give out advice it would be: If you don't use that particular social media for fun, don't use it at all. If you start using it for fun, you'll know what is annoying, how "regular people" use it, etc.

    If I am not using social media recreationally, I won't professionally. I want to use Goodreads someday "professionally" so I've just started getting involved as a "regular person" intent to figure out how to use it recreationally. Once I understand it and start having fun with it, then I'll decide how I think it will be best to use it professionally (in other words, I'll see all the different ways authors annoy me with self-promotion and make a list of what not to do.)

    Another pet peeve for me is someone having a professional page and a personal page on facebook but nothing is different. If I'm following you personally, I'm inclined to hear the funny story about you on the way to work, if I'm following your professional page, I'm inclined to hear about your book reviews and blog promotions. If every post is identical on both pages, why do you have two pages??

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  26. These are awesome, Jody!

    I'm adding this. Anyone whose Twitter profile contains several links. It tells me the person will be promoting themselves 99% of the time.

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  27. Great advice here, Jody! I think sometimes I've done some of these things inadvertently and it's good to have a conclusive list to check back on. Because you're right: Social media is about relationships... and if we're hurting relationships with the things we do, we need to change.

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  28. Amber, I DO think the nature of Twitter has changed subtly and slowly over the past year. I suppose that many people eventually run out of things to "talk" about once the newness of twitter wears off. And so then the next logical step is tweeting links to at least keep your face and name in the twitter stream. But when we only tweet links, then we loose the social aspect of twitter. So yes, I've definitely seen a decrease in the interacting!

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  29. Such great points, Jody! I've found that I've had to scale way back on Twitter because of time...I don't feel like I do it all that well, and so I'd rather invest my time in the things I enjoy and am better at. I've stayed on there for now and occasionally share links, both my own and others, and also chat once in a great while (although inconsistently).

    So here's the question...As another commenter pointed out, am I better off just getting off Twitter completely? Or is the minimal exposure still worth it? It's a tough balance to figure out, and your excellent points re-raised the question in my mind. :) No matter what, I want people to connect with me on a genuine level, and if my own time constraints make that impossible in a particular forum, maybe it means I should set it aside. Any thoughts?

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  30. You've covered most of them! When I follow an author and get a direct message from them, I get excited that I've made a connection. But when I open it and it's a canned reply that I might like their blog or website too, it's a total let down.

    When someone follows me on Twitter, I try to make my reply personal, so they know it isn't canned and I never ask them to follow my blog. If they want to, they will all on their own.

    Great tips!

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  31. Great list! I think you covered every single one of my pet-peeves!

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  32. Roni, good points about following on Pinterest. I definitely can't auto follow back anymore. I have to be selective with boards of followers, particularly because my kids love looking at my Pinterest stuff now too.

    Obviously, if we're trying to reach our target audience, then we'll try to brand our Pinterest boards to our books. That makes sense. Nevertheless, I do try to be sensitive to the fact that I have numerous followers from all spectrums of life. I've personally taken the stance that I won't bombard my followers with my faith or beliefs. I think most people know where I stand (I'm not ducking my head in the sand). But because of the direction of my blog and the focus on writers, I try to keep my faith real but low key. Hope that makes sense.

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  33. #10 made me laugh only because of an article published in Sunday's edition of the Raleigh News and Observer. Apparently, based on a recently conducted study, talking about ourselves activates the same pleasure centers in our brains that are also activated when we eat chocolate, experience intimate physical contact, etc. However, when we talk about someone else or listen to someone else talk about themselves...not so much the same reaction. When did society become so narcissistic?

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  34. Melissa, good point about for those of us with both personal and author pages on FB. I wholeheartedly agree that the focus for both needs to be different. I primarily post personal stuff on my personal page. And then I focus on writing, books, and readers over on my author page. I don't auto post from Twitter to FB or vice versa either. If it's not real, then people will notice and start to ignore us altogether.

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  35. I'm not bothered about the number of 'followers' my blog has, just the quality of the comments left/given.

    I'd rather have 10 very active commentators than 100 fly-by-nights.

    I must compliment you on the image used for your post - THAT is a pet peeve of mine (non-blog related) - when my wife fails to replace the toilet roll when it runs out... grrr!

    I did try to follow you via Pinterest, but sadly I got into a mess with it, no doubt a sign of age catching up to me and technology getting away from me. So I gave up in the end. My apologies though :(

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  36. Sarah, that's a tough one. I know some people believe that if you're struggling with social media that you should back off and focus on one SM site and just do it well.

    While I understand the logic behind that, I also think that more and more, all the SM sites are becoming inter-related. I personally find that I relate to different people on different sites, so I'm glad to have the variety of places to connect with people where they're most comfortable.

    My philosophy is that I can't possibly be everywhere all the time. So I do tend to gravitate toward a couple of SM sites where I show up more often than others. But nevertheless, I try to at least dabble in them all. But ultimately YOU have to do what works best for you at your writing and life stage!

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  37. Number 7! The promos I hate most are the ones that have one line from the book. They are effective in getting me to read the sentence--because I think it's a true tweet. Then, at the end, I'm furious for wasting my time.

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  38. I admit that it's hard for me not to relate posts to my own life in the comments section. It's kind of how I feel I connect with others--I share something about me when you share something about you...sort of like a conversation! Since I don't KNOW many online peeps personally, I try to drop breadcrumbs as to my personality/thoughts via the comments. I'm sure it comes off sounding self-centered sometimes, but I honestly don't know how else to connect! I do enjoy reading about their lives and chatting about them, but then again, don't want to sound stalker-ish either! Online relationships are weird!

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  39. My number 1 pet peeve on social media is being "sold" something by my friends. Enough already with the Pampered Chef, Norwex, Skinny Wraps, jewelry parties, and beauty products! Facebook feels like a billboard these days and it's getting old.

    Another pet peeve with social media is when someone complains incessantly on their Facebook or Twitter feed. "My left arm hurts so badly today!" And then the next day, it's another complaint about something similar. The entire world doesn't want to hear about your "medical" issues.

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  40. I'm new to Twitter, and still trying to get Pinterest to invite me. Great tips for a newbie like me to keep in mind.

    I'm not big on selling myself, but I do get excited when my followers or stats are up. Better watch it! :)

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  41. I do have some patience so I don't mind the occasional reminder that my "friends" sell things for a living or sometimes just to supplement thier income. I also have to remind myself when they post too often about thier business that I friended them (or that they friended me and I have the option to end that friendship). But I agree with you that some people do this too much and should take into considerationt that some of us use FB to keep in touch with friends that we don't in other ways and befriend others that we would not have an opportunity to otherwise, i.e. authors, etc. I enjoy getting to know the authors of books I read. It gives me insight at times that I would not have had otherwise. Therefore, THANK YOU for being on FB with us and sharing what you do with us!

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  42. On Twitter, I love folks that just post stuff, not always links to themselves, just stuff. Funny, clever, thought-provoking. The media is SOCIAL after all.

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  43. I totally agree with all the things on this list, especially #1. It bothers me when people use my blog to promote their own stuff without even asking me first. I don't mind linking to other people's blogs or contests, but that has to be my choice.
    Also, it's one thing when people use their blogs to express their beliefs, because that's what everyone does. But there are a couple blogs that I've considered unfollowing because the bloggers make it seem like only their beliefs are correct and anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. And I don't like that, especially because I usually disagree with them anyway.

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  44. Wow, this is a great post. I like what you said. Hey, you should check out my...

    ;)

    Those always rub me the wrong way. You would think it would have died as a strategy by now?

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  45. Numerous posts about what someone is having for tea, that they are having their shower now, watching TV now, tired now... I find after a while I stop reading anything from these folks and just skim past their posts.

    What I like about social media is the opportunity to share ideas, offer support, make new friends.

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  46. Great post Jody. I can certainly relate to some of these and judging by the discussion, it's good to know I'm not alone. :)

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  47. I don’t believe that everyone who uses social media should censor themselves just in case a child might accidentally see their posts. Maintaining freedom of speech on the internet is important.

    However, I agree that people who are trying to create a professional, business-like image would be wise to mind their language.

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  48. My pet peeve, which applies more to personal/social connections, is people posting vague, mysterious FB status comments just to get attention.

    Especially if they refuse to explain if someone asks them. Or if the explanation is so trivial that I want to punch them.
    It's now a reflex to roll my eyes every time I read 'So-and-so has had the worst day ever. So sad.'

    If you want people to know what's wrong, tell them; if you don't want people to know, don't post it as your status. If you want just a few people to know, why not try telling close friends via PM/email/text/phone?! It's not a difficult concept. Grrr!

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  49. Yes! #7 and #10.

    I can't stand it when I see only tweets about someone's book or FB posts about their books and NOTHING else!

    I use FB and Twitter to promote my personal brand and my book, but I also post about a lot of other stuff that interests me and I RT like crazy.

    Thanks for the reminder not to get conceited out there with Twitter and FB.

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  50. Great post and something we always struggle with. The fact that we do struggle, must mean that we are sensitive to how we come across online. I'm sure we all break those rules at some point, it's hard not to, as many have said above, but I hope it's ok as long as we are intending to be spammy or self-centered. Balance is very hard.

    I had to laugh at #4 in your post. When you were talking about your SM sites, because of the context I was sure you wrote S&M. Heh, sorry about that. I stopped, and was like... Say what?

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  51. And of course, meant NOT intending to be spammy, etc. hard to type fast on an iPad, sorry.

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  52. Oh so much yes. Actually number 8 there is a problem I even have with my friends who won't reply to e-mails when I'm trying to arrange a get-together.

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  53. This is a great resource, Jody! I hope I don't annoy my friends on SM. I don't auto follow or friend anyone, so most are personal associations -- a luxury that disappears when you become published.

    On FB it's the gamers whose constant actions are reported by their apps that annoy me. I don't play online games so am not interested in how many bales of hay someone needs in Farmville, etc. Fortunately I can "hide" those posts from my newsfeed.

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  54. Yes to all of those!

    I think Twitter can be what you make of it. If you reach out to people in genuine conversation, then your experiences on Twitter will be more about relationships. If you use Twitter for only book promotion, then you are missing out.

    If you establish true friendships with readers, writers, book bloggers, then THEY will tweet the heck out of your upcoming novel and/or blog post.

    That is just what friends do.

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  55. Great post, Jody! I link up my blog to my facebook site through networked blogs. Would you say that's annoying? I long to promote others, not myself. At the same time, I know some people wouldn't find my blog otherwise. Your thoughts?

    Thanks!

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  56. Melanie, I don't think tweeting or putting FB links to our blogs is annoying. I regularly do that on the social media sites where I have people I know will be interested in my posts. BUT it can't be the only thing we're doing. We should try to be interacting with people most of all, and not just listing our links. Those are just my thoughts! Hope that helps!

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  57. Thanks, Jody! That definitely helps. :)

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  60. I agree with everthing you said, Jody. I constantly get spam. I also hate being ignored in messages, because I am never spamming. I think it's rude, we're all busy. Thanks for another great post!

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