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20 Things You Must Stop Doing Online

Stop sign

Dear People of the Internet,

Please stop. I do love you more than bacon. But for the love of crumb cake, please heed the following:

1. Stop inviting me to your mafia family. I mean, how many families can I possibly join before I’m killed in the crossfire?

2. Stop sending me messages on LinkedIn, inviting me to invite you to connect on LinkedIn. You arrogant, jammy bastard! Just send me a real connection request. And if you’re truly out of connection requests, as so many claim to be, ask LinkedIn for more. They have the option to grant you more. (Thanks for the info @LewisHowes)

3. Similar to #2, stop sending me messages on LinkedIn, or any platform, inviting me to follow you on Twitter. That’s just so weird, and there is a much easier way to attract a following.

4. Stop sending me Direct Messages on Twitter that say “I’m looking forward to reading your tweets.” Well, what is taking you so long? Stop looking forward to your new life with me and get to it! It’s not like I don’t offer you a daily serving. (perhaps just an issue of semantics)

5. In fact, please stop sending the worst Twitter Auto-DM’s in Human History. Or, if you’re feeling sporting, stop sending all Twitter auto-DMs. (yes, I used to send them. I’ve learned. You can learn too.)

6. Stop calling yourself a social media expert if you’ve tweeted 14 times. Practice makes perfect. REPEAT: you cannot claim to be a social media strategist if you barely use social media. Please feel free to refute this in the comments below.

7. Stop using the TrueTwit validation service on Twitter. You are not eliminating spam. You ARE spam.

8. Stop pretending people’s time is free. It is not. Asking for advice is one thing. Asking for an entire business plan on a silver platter is another (yes, it has happened).

9. Stop asking someone to lunch to pick their brain and then not picking up the tab. Common courtesy. Luckily, this happened to me only once.

10. Stop promising me 5,000 followers in 30 days. What are you racing towards? It’s not success.

11. Don’t do a #FollowFriday on Twitter if you’re not following the person. It boggles the mind.

12. Stop curating a tweetstream that is clearly automated. There is one exception to this rule – a local guy that created an awesome tweetbot – you know who you are. You get special dispensation from #12.

13. Similar to #12, stop tweeting links in every tweet. This is not what social media is for. (thanks @cynthiakahn!)

14. Stop creating Twitter usernames that are impossible to communicate to someone in person. “Hi, I work in social media. I’m @SocilMediSaintLou! Yes, that’s S-O-C-I-L, no there’s no “A” in it. M-E-D-I, now skip the “A” again…” I’m lost. (thanks @Tojosan)

15. Stop saying you don’t have time to use social media. Make time. Evenings are good.

16. Employers, stop restricting the social media usage of your employees. Studies have shown that occasional wandering of the brain is actually good for overall productivity. And you allow people to take smoke breaks, which is slowly killing them and raising your health insurance premiums. Oh wait, you don’t allow smoking on your company’s campus, which means employees have to go out and practically stand in traffic in order to smoke. Yeah, Twitter and Facebook… it’s not so bad.

17. Stop looking for a job with no LinkedIn presence. Learn how to use this tool, and do not dismiss it as a tool merely for job seekers. That will keep you, the gainfully employed, from creating a complete, informative profile until that unfortunate moment when you lose your job. At that point in time, you will not be mentally capable of doing your very best thinking, which will keep you from pulling together your very best resume and LinkedIn profile. Treat your LinkedIn profile like a living, breathing organism.

18. Stop saying you don’t have anything to blog about. You’re a business? That is interesting to me. You can blog about it. Chris Brogan runs a newsletter that will send you ten blog post ideas every Monday morning.

19. Stop taking it so personally. An unfollow is just an unfollow. It’s not you. Maybe it is you. You don’t have time to care, and reacting to the criticism of one person is a knee-jerk reaction. And whatever a “knee-jerk reaction” is, it doesn’t sound good.

20. Stop being afraid to be yourself. Tweet. Do a podcast. Go on video. Public speak. You’re not that bad, and 75% of people are more fearful of this stuff than you are. Trust me.

BONUS – apparently blog posts like this are a pet peeve of some. In response to my tweet asking for ideas for this blog post in exchange for full attribution, I received the tweet below. :-) Point well taken.

[blackbirdpie id="65184259253612544"]

Comments

  1. Bob Reesjr says:

    Hey, I learned something today. Thanks Chris.

  2. Excellent blog post! I agree with each point especially the one about claiming to be a Social Media Strategist and not even using the tools regularly. It’s a frustration I run into often.

    Also auto anything on Social Media is just wrong. My view is this; it wasn’t called nor is called auto media for a reason.

  3. Good one Chris!

  4. Hah! Funny how these things just sort of happen. Try calling out someone who does any of these and they plead ignorance. No, I mean now. Go try it. :)

  5. #21 – asking for LinkedIn endorsements from a total stranger that you’ve never worked with. Also stop doing that!

  6. funny but true. i hate when people send those automated DM’s can i help you…blah blah.great reminders for people like us . cheers @Chris !

  7. Anonymous says:

    May I add, stop posting from your personal and professional accounts within seconds of one another. If I see this more than twice, I’ll unfollow one of them because I don’t need that kind of repetition during my reading time (so there!).

  8. Funny, I always thought TrueTwit validation service was some kind of Twitter virus. :)

  9. Stacy Harp says:

    Good post, and believe me, I concur!

  10. I’m totally guilty of living and dying by the number of followers I have. Thanks for telling me it’s okay to chill! :-)

  11. Kpfister says:

    Great post esp. # 17 – which applies to everyone!

  12. Unlink everything. I do not want to see your foursquare checkins or your tweets on facebook. I do not want to see your tweets on LinkedIn. I would prefer to not see your tweets on your music choices or where you are in your ebook either, but apparently I’m in the minority on that one (or so I was told when I complained about it on twitter).

    • Your rule is one that I break on a pretty regular basis. It’s truly a matter of taste, and I’m afraid I’m pissing some people off with this. I do not do it every single time, but I do push Foursquare checkins to Twitter, and to a somewhat lesser extent, Facebook. I push my Instagram pictures to Twitter. I use Selective Tweets to infrequently send a tweet to both Facebook and LinkedIn. My Posterous blog posts (which are pretty infrequent these days) are automatically tweeted.

      I think the reason I feel I can get away with this is that my tweetstream is quite diverse. You won’t typically see 5 Foursquare checkin tweets in a row from me. I mix it up with sheer volume.

      I don’t think you’re in the minority. There are some very prominent folks (Peter Shankman, for one) that don’t want to see Foursquare info tweeted out. I just differ on this – my whereabouts are part of my personal brand, so I tweet them out. I can see where some folks would be unhappy to see this info on multiple platforms.

    • Every time I see a 4sqr post from someone think to myself.. Really, do you think we have to know your every move? Well, maybe that creepy stalker guy does, now how about you post pictures of your kids, house and possession before letting everyone know you are gone for a few hours..

    • Depending on the interests, people following, etc. it could be useful and not a bad idea. yes, I think you are a minority, but then again, there’s no problem on that, because you just have to stop following us (majority).

  13. Speaking of tweeting links, if you don’t have the inspiration to add a comment to that blog article (unless it’s something else) first, then don’t tweet the link. I never know why people tweet links if I don’t see them mentioned in the article or within the comments.

    • Personally, I do tweet out links to all sorts of interesting places, and I don’t comment on each of those blogs. But I hear what you’re saying….

      • Why do you share the link, then?

        • Because I found the information contained therein to be interesting, and I think my Twitter followers will find it interesting too. For me, the decision to leave a blog comment (or not) is not a reflection of the compelling or boring nature of the blog content itself. I do not comment on every blog post that I visit.

          • After doing a few studies on priming effects, I’ll tweet or RT some things w/o addition because I want to know what the unaffected response is.

            (see: what happens when you major in sociology and advertising)

    • I don’t always comment, but I agree I am more likely to click on the links of others when they give a specific reason.

  14. 21. Please don’t send me friend req on facebook if you don’t know me.
    22. Please use your own DP on twitter & fill out your bio.
    23. Please try & never cry.

  15. Steve Collier says:

    Stop Tweeting what you are eating, wearing, drinking and especially no pics of same.

    Stop regurgitating news that I can find my self, thank you.

    Stop reTweeting your own Tweets.

  16. I’ll take partial exception to #6. Some digital strategists for top agencies are people who interact very little themselves, but observe and study obsessively. However, they’ve earned the ability to do so because they’ve executed successful campaigns for top clients.

  17. I’ll take partial exception to #6. Some digital strategists for top agencies are people who interact very little themselves, but observe and study obsessively. However, they’ve earned the ability to do so because they’ve executed successful campaigns for top clients.

  18. It depends on what you are using the service for. Just as some email is personal, some professional and some are newsletters, SM can be used the same way.

    It’s important to be clear about who you are and what kind of info you will be sharing so people know if they should follow. Overall, this is really good advice for people trying to figure out best practices. So when is your SM book coming out? This is a good start :)

  19. It depends on what you are using the service for. Just as some email is personal, some professional and some are newsletters, SM can be used the same way.

    It’s important to be clear about who you are and what kind of info you will be sharing so people know if they should follow. Overall, this is really good advice for people trying to figure out best practices. So when is your SM book coming out? This is a good start :)

  20. Wow, extraordinary list, Chris! :)

    I really wonder how can you suggest someone for #FollowFriday if you’re not even following them! Mindboggling, indeed.

    I love #18. No matter how many unique blog post are published in the world, you *still* can find something to blog about. Ideas never end.

    Cheers,
    Gloson

  21. Wow, extraordinary list, Chris! :)

    I really wonder how can you suggest someone for #FollowFriday if you’re not even following them! Mindboggling, indeed.

    I love #18. No matter how many unique blog post are published in the world, you *still* can find something to blog about. Ideas never end.

    Cheers,
    Gloson

  22. After read all commentaries here posted, I still think list like this one are funny, but not rules; because each uses for what each wants. Yes, there are those who probably don’t know for what they are here, but there are more than share this uncertainty in the real world, so…

  23. Gloson sent me. I’m glad he did. Terrific post – I’m laughing so hard I’ve got tears streaming down my face (which is admittedly better than snarfing coffee all over my monitor, but only points out how desperately in need of a refill I really am). Seriously, thanks to Gloson, I’m bookmarking your blog and I will be back!

  24. This is an awesome list!

    One thing that still bugs the hell out of me in Facebook is seeing messages to join a webinar… even when it’s on a topic I love… like marketing using social media.

    I don’t think it’s as much the message but the fact that I didn’t ask for it AND that it usually sucks — not engaging, not exciting, not fun — that bugs me. In an environment where I’m trained to find awesomeness in my inbox – free from spam – finding the opposite is big downer. Pitching the webinar in the feed – NO PROBLEMO knock yourself. Just stay out of my damn box. Hahaha

  25. Fabulous list!  I am an avid Twitter user and everybody on that platform would be better social networkers if they followed these guidelines.  Especially the people who are saying they are “experts” and they never ever show up on Twitter. LOL

  26. I wish there was a #21. Don’t do a #FF – #FOLLOWFRIDAY unless you are willing to tell people why you suggest them.  I have seen profiles where there isn’t a single post but they have hundreds or thousands of followers, (Now that boggles my mind).  Thanks for sharing!

  27. Anonymous says:

    After reading all the comments posted here, I still think lists like this are fun, but the rules, because each user for what everyone wants. Yes, there are those who probably do not know for what they are here, but it is only to share this uncertainty in the real world, so …
     SEO Company India

  28. #21: Never tweet about anything but pictures of what you are eating.

    #ILoveSandwiches

    Woot!

  29. love it!! you are very engaging!!!!! thank you.

  30. Ellen Wright says:

    17. actually made me stop and reconsider how I’m using LinkedIn Thanks

  31. Jeff Gedgaud says:

    I totally disagree with #16, social media has its place but at work for most people it is not acceptable. I will give you an example and this is not theoretical, its real. At a day care I know people do the facebook and twitter thing on work computers during their break but they also do it during their planning time. Each teacher is given an hour or two a week to plan out the next weeks activities but some waste that time by trolling facebook or twitter among some of the social media sites.

    They should be planning and if they were posting about their kids it would still be inappropriate because those computers they are using are for work projects like planning activities, not for their entertainment. When a company buys computers for work they should not be used for other things because you are doing things that are not supposed to be done on them. Why should a company spend money in the form of computers and electricity just so you can have fun.

    When you go to work for the seven to seven and a half hours a day you are supposed to be working on what your getting paid to do, not have fun.
    If you think people don’t waste time by playing games on computers then why do companies block game sites and sites like facebook?

    I also hate to disagree with your very scientific study but studies are not conclusive when they say things like “employees actually suggest”, that is more of an opinion and not a study.

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