Arment Dietrich

Social Media Pet Peeves

By: Arment Dietrich | March 9, 2011 | 

Social media douchebag Grammar Pet Peeves was a big hit last month and I couldn’t help but notice that a LOT of us were having fun.

I honestly hesitated writing this because I felt like I might be preaching to the choir. A lot of us get it. We understand social media, we’re certified geeks, and we are here to learn at an even deeper level. But every day, I come across something on the fabulous Internet that makes me cringe, or want to reply in all caps, “YOU’RE DOING IT ALL WRONG.”

I still get the comment, all the time – Social media is a waste of time. I have far better things to do. Or, I just don’t understand how it can help my business.

Without further ado, I bring to you our list of top 10 social media pet peeves. This was not intended to be a rant, rather an attempt to eradicate douchebaggery from the social networks. If you’re doing this, you’re doing it ALL WRONG. And yes, you will continue to wonder why social media is not working for you. 

  1. Auto-DM When I follow you on Twitter, and immediately get an auto direct message asking me to friend you on Facebook or visit your website, you’ve just turned on the ICK factor, and I’ve hit the unfollow button. Seriously, I can’t believe I even have to still write about this. When I took over the Spin Sucks Twitter account, I became astounded, yes downright flabbergasted, at the number of auto-DMs that are out there in this world. I rank this right up there with automatic music on your website. Friend you on Facebook? Aren’t you at least going to buy me dinner tweet with me first?
  2. Buy my book. This was a post from a “friend” on Facebook. A friend from whom I had not heard a peep other than several check-ins on Vail’s epic mix, letting us know that he’s skiing. Then, out of blue, I get a link to buy his new book, and he didn’t even ask me, he told me. I felt abused. Imagine how your customers would feel?
  3. Link your game playing habit to Facebook. I am definitely not interested in what level you attained in Halo or however that game works.
  4. Adding “Please RT” at the end of tweets. We’ll re-tweet something if it is relevant and interesting to share with our group. Not because you asked me.
  5. Broadcast Syndrome: Symptoms begin with organizations with a very low follow to following ratio. You aren’t listening to anyone, therefore you only have yourself to talk about. You broadcast your specials, and you leave questions unanswered. We look at your profile page, and see a list of marketing messages. We yawn, we move on. You’re doing it wrong. Save that stuff for your print ads and talk to us, and share interesting information.
  6. The Follow Friday tweets with the unending lists of twitter handles. I know, a lot of people still do this. We think it’s getting old. It was a great idea when Twitter first started because we were all looking for interesting people, but sometimes it just feels like your fishing for a return follow recommendation. Sorry, now we’ve become cynical.
  7. Facebook messages. Facebook group messages from your personal page or your company page are annoying and they are spam in my book. If I “like” your page, that does not give you permission to email me. That’s for your newsletter opt-in. Even worse is when people reply to these messages because the default is to reply to all. Chewing on tin foil – same difference.
  8. Invitations to a gazillion different social networks. Must I explain?
  9. Facebook recommendations. Getting a ton of recommendations from you to “like” this page and “friend” this person.  There are certainly exceptions to this pet peeve. If it’s truly a personal recommendation for me because you know I have an interest in it,  that’s fine. But for the most part, please stop telling me who to like and where to go on facebook.
  10. Dual personality:. I follow you personally AND your company and you tweet the same things from both of your accounts. I think something is wrong with my eyes.

What are your social media pet peeves?

PS. thanks to Social Engine People for the excellent image.

  • angelica7641

    Oh this is so awesome. You should make this into a weekly post called Lisa’s Peeves. I’m all about eradicating douchebaggery so I support this 100%. I think you should add “Not taking the time to write a bio” as #11.

  • Oh! #6 and the endless list of @ on Fridays, some Fridays I just feel like quitting Twitter altogether.

    My top SM pet peeve, and you are right I think sometimes, doesn’t everyone know this?

    People who tweet non stop about their product, post, blog, promotion,… where is that un-follow button again fast.

    Protected tweets, seriously? If you want to chat with your friends stay on FB

    Great post Lisa, Buy my book ! 🙂

  • LauriRottmayer

    Auto Tweets. It’s just so annoying to me to see endless spewing of “stuff” with no interaction. Why bother? Seriously. I will often schedule a RT later in the day so that it gets maximum exposure than if I RT it when I first see it. But to just set things up to run always, all the time, automatically? It’s noise.

  • bradmarley

    When I follow somebody who doesn’t seem to have the time to follow me back.

  • punchakpr

    #when #all #words #have #a #hashtag

    But I don’t mind #6. I can understand how it might be irritating if you get a lot of #ff. But when you’re starting out or aren’t known enough to be singularly featured in a #ff, it’s nice to be mentioned, even in a list. And I like #ff suggestions and will usually follow (or at lest browse) them.

  • feliciahudson

    Great post, Lisa! Although I’ve been on Twitter for about a year, I still consider myself a student of social media. I’m fascinated by it! As a writer, I think what saves me from committing most of these sins is that I think first about what I’m communicating, how I’m communicating and whether or not it provides value to others. I’m not sharing this as a strategy, but rather a personality characteristic that happens to work to my advantage in this instance! 🙂 I HATE when I follow someone and then I get the bulk-scheduled stream of promotional tweets! I feel like taking a shower afterward! Social media is to engage and communicate WITH people. Not AT them.

  • lisagerber

    @angelica7641 awesome idea – maybe we’ll call it Douchebaggery Eradication Edition. and seriously with the bio !!! c’mon!

  • RickCaffeinated

    Same list here, except for #4 – maybe blame that one on @danzarrella, who’s Twitter data shows that “Please RT” is the most retweeted phrase on the platform. With that, don’t abuse it – but if you’ve got the social collateral to throw it out once in a while, it’s the best way to actually have it happen – just please have something worth RT’ing before asking, right?

  • lisagerber

    @johnfalchetto awesome – that should be part of your signature –

    my name, buy my book.

  • lisagerber

    totally agree, @LauriRottmayer , and I often schedule tweets as well. sometimes i just don’t want to fill the newsfeed all at once, so I like to spread it out. and I’ll go back in and check and still interact, it’s the message push that drives me nuts.

  • lisagerber

    @bradmarley uh-oh, I’m bad at that one. But also, I don’t automatically follow everyone back. I’m referring back to #5 above, and other criteria I use, like angelica7@angelica7641 said below, if they don’t take the time to fill out the bio

  • angelica7641

    That is the best name I have heard in a long time! And I think that Follow Friday is on my top 2 list as well. I’m over it! @lisagerber @angelica7641

  • FocusedWords

    I Unfollow people who post a link thinking that it applies to the subject without checking out the link. I tweet about RV parks, RVers, etc. and frequently see links that are for a school with the initials RV, a person whose Twitter handle is RV, etc.

  • FocusedWords

    Oh and one more, one person tweeting 30 messages spaced 2 seconds apart.

  • Wendy Ruyle

    I have to add Four Square check ins on Twitter with no context. Why should I care if you are at Starbucks? And, people who autopost the same things on Twitter and Facebook. One of them is getting hidden.

  • Uh, if you like someone’s Page, that IS an opt-in. You can, however, opt OUT of receiving the messages if you’re not about them.

    I’m with you on the rest, though! I’ll one-up you on the name-blast #FFs: When people retweet the entire thing just to say thanks. #AUGH.

    Also, a little bug of my own: It’s not a pet peeve if half the world agrees with you. That’s the whole “pet” thing.

  • feliciahudson

    Uh-oh. So #FF is old school now? 🙂 @angelica7641 @lisagerber

  • jmctigue

    I’ll add Twitter follow, immediately followed by unfollow. Why do people still do this?

  • sydcon_mktg

    Preach away, Lisa! Sometimes even if we all get it, it still needs to be said!

    I 100% agree with all 10 on your list! One I can think of adding is constantly re-tweeting the same message (not new blog posts), but just constant repetition day in and day out!

  • lisagerber

    @feliciahudson @angelica7641 @lisagerber it’s arguable, but yes, in my opinion, it’s old school. It was helpful when we first got started but I am not interested in clicking through lists of twitter handles to see if I want to follow them. There are plenty of tools out there to find interesting people to follow. I want content in my newsfeed.

  • lisagerber

    @bradmarley uh-oh. i might be guilty of that one. although, I don’t automatically return follows. have to be interesting and relevant and not number 5: suffering from Broadcast Syndrome

  • alexklevine

    Totally agree on all but one point- I LOVE a thoughtful #followfriday i.e. #FF @lisagerber because I find her blog posts about social media to be insightful or #FF @bazecraze because all of his tweets make me giggle

  • lisagerber

    OHHHH @punchakpr , I meant to include that one. #can #not #read #tweets with lots of hashtags. what is #with #that. ??

  • sydcon_mktg

    Oh, wait I thought of another one! To go along with #6, retweeting the original FF with a thank you! By all means, thank the person who gave you a FF…but when it gets retweeted its a bit, shall we say douchey?

  • @lisagerber @punchakpr I think hashtags are HYSTERICAL. The meaningless ones can go die in a fire, but otherwise, I think they can really show off how clever someone is. I had an entire conversation in hashtags the other night instead of watching SNL.

    My favorite: “#mightaswellfaceit #youreaddicted #tohash …#tags”

  • I get so many spam followers these days that I don’t follow back unless someone actually engages me in conversation. Because I *don’t* actually have time to waste investigating when 8 out of 10 “people” who follow aren’t even real. @bradmarley

  • johnson619

    As others have said, tweeting 100 times per day…get over yourself, you’re NOT that important.

  • punchakpr

    @paigeworthy @lisagerber Ha! Now that’s putting hashtags to good use! I like it when they’re used for fun, but putting too many in “serious” tweets looks a little desperate (#epic #hastag #fail). And for sure, difficult to read.

  • HBAofCT

    Agreed on the above, but dead links are the worst. You’d think people would check to be sure the links are correct and active, but not always. Please don’t waste my time!

  • @johnson619 I tweet 100 times a day sometimes, but I’m under no illusion that I’m important. I just really like Twitter.


  • ericadechi

    Point #1 hit home for me. I would also add having a twitter handle where every single (I’m talking from day1) tweet is a Foursquare checkin!

  • lesmckeown

    Shoot. I’m so bad at this. I do 6 of see. Shoot.

  • lesmckeown

    6 of these. Duh.

  • EdgeLink

    As much as I wish it weren’t the case, the use of the plea, “Please RT” does yield results. So says Dan Zarella, anyway…

  • feliciahudson

    Hmmm. Good point. I think all these pet peeves might be no-brainers for social media savvy folks, but I don’t think they can be repeated too often. More and more people are joining (or returning to) Twitter . These insights are helpful so you don’t unknowingly make an ass of yourself :-). So one final question: Are you more likely to follow individuals who are recommended by people you follow on Twitter or would you still prefer to only find people on your own? @lisagerber @angelica7641

  • lisagerber

    @Wendy Ruyleagreed! any LBS check-ins. I like my social media in silos. I don’t want to see that you checked into Starbucks on facebook either.

  • lisagerber

    @FocusedWords that’s where I argue that scheduling tweets out is ok. I don’t like it when someone hogs my newsfeed either!

  • lisagerber

    @paigeworthy Sure it’s an opt-in but really, it’s an opt-in to receive the news in my newsfeed, it is not an opt-in to send me private messages continually. I was being a bit tongue in cheek. HOWEVER, i did not realize I can opt out of the messages. I am going to find that setting now.

  • lisagerber

    @sydcon_mktg and if i can just eliminate one DM, just ONE DM, I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something. 🙂

  • lisagerber

    @alexklevine @lisagerber@bazecraze YES!!! in that case, I am totally ok with it. and you’re right, it is definitely thoughtful and actually tells me why I’d like to follow this person. If I don’t want someone to make me giggle, I don’t have to bother even clicking.

  • lisagerber

    @lesmckeown Really? are you saying you’re a social media douchebag? I don’t think so. I have not observed that from you.

  • ginidietrich

    @lesmckeown You so do not do six of these.

  • FocusedWords

    @lisagerber @sydcon_mktg Ever noticed how DM could be an abbreviation for Damn Message?

  • Sheep that retweet anything from the “names” because… well, it’s BOUND to be awesome, isn’t it? 😉

  • ginidietrich

    @jmctigue I once spoke on a panel with a person who does this. I asked her a bunch of questions (to the point that I probably pushed too hard on it) and she couldn’t really tell me why she did it.

  • ginidietrich

    @FocusedWords Oh yeah! That happened A LOT in the early days of Twitter!

  • ginidietrich

    @bradmarley I might be guilty of that, too. I turned off my email notifications a long time ago so, sometimes, I just don’t know if someone new is following me. My rule now is if you tweet me, I follow you. Otherwise I’d spend two hours every day going through to follow people back.

  • ginidietrich

    I have another one to add…people who ask you to do things for them when they’ve NEVER tweeted you. I get at least one DM a day with someone saying, “Gini, can you help me with XYZ cause?” Sure! If you build a relationship with me and then introduce the cause. Otherwise NO FREAKING WAY!

  • I don’t know what all the commotion is about here. When I receive a spammed tweet replying to mine about the beach telling me where #all #the #hot #singles are in my area, I’m immediately plugging the coordinates into my GPS and off on an epic adventure.

    I also really enjoy DM’s with zero relevancy to my life – so thrilled am I to learn about Whole Life Insurance policies at the age of 25 with ZERO dependents.

    But my favorite by far are the clever folks on Facebook that try to fool me into thinking we are actually long-lost high school buddies. “Oh, you graduated my high school in 2003(my class) yet were born in 1990? We must have been pals because you, sir, were clearly in the gifted program to graduate at 13… sadly, I slept through many classes, so I guess we didn’t get a chance to chat as often as I would’ve liked. Thank goodness for Facebook so we can catch up.”

    Oh, and there is nothing creepy or inappropriate about FB Poking a colleague or a mild acquaintance. Nothing whatsoever.

  • KimbaGreen

    I really have a problem with people who RT a tweet that has a bad link. Are you not reading what you are RTing? How can you suggest I read something when you haven’t read it yourself?

    What number are we up to now? 22 Social Media Pet Peeves?

  • lisagerber

    @feliciahudson great question. I usually connect with people who engage in conversation with me, or perhaps someone who has been retweeted and I like what they had to say or what they shared. I don’t typically pay attention to the follow friday recommendations.

  • lisagerber

    @punchakpr @paigeworthy absolutely!! also, there’s a difference between a hashtag and keyword. If i want to find something more generic, I search by word, not hashtag!

  • lisagerber

    @JamesDBurrell2 AWESOME!! OHHH, i left out the poke. what the hell is that anyway???

  • lisagerber

    @KimbaGreen I should compile! them into a don’t be Douchey Handbook. and yours is an important one. You lose ALL credibility with me if you are retweeting links that are bad. you’re not even looking. Like @DannyBrown said, Sheep that are retweeting because it HAS to be awesome.

  • dannystarr


  • dannystarr

    @sydcon_mktg Oops fired off a bit early as this one about the retweeting got me all fired up. I hate this as well but to add to it, I hate people that use constant retweet when they should should be @replying. They so desperately want everyone in their feed to see their crap… like they get a compliment and they retweet it.. please..

  • Dilholes that tweet a link to a post and say, “This is a great post, and not just because I’m featured in it.”

    Yeah, right. F*ck off – no-one believes your tosh. Dilhole.

  • Thanks, Lisa.

    I totally disagree on #4 ; if it’s not done very often, it’s fine to ask for a RT. Sometimes, folks have a special cause, need to help a friend, or whatever.

    I really don’t see that many people that I hang with do it much. If they ask for a RT, I usually oblige.

    It’s how I roll.

    (So, please RT my next Tweet. I’m @FranchiseKing)

  • @DannyBrown Oops. Guilty. But then again, I was a fan of ABC’s Flash Forward before I found out no one in North America liked it but me, and it was cancelled. I don’t really like it anymore. Oh, and I once wore white bucks and seersucker after Labor Day, but only once.

  • @JamesDBurrell2 Was that the show where the guy got tomorrow’s newspaper delivered this morning, and had to decide whose life to save?

  • andi_fisher

    Thank you oh thank you for doing this post – and “Amen sister!”

  • @DannyBrown No but that does sound intriguing. The plot was based on a particle accelerator that caused a global blackout (of the mind) where people saw into the future… then lived with that knowledge, thus altering the outcomes of the supposed futures. I liked it, but apparently the story line was too flimsy to sustain viewership.

  • @JamesDBurrell2 Sounds intriguing – will have to see if it’s on Netflix.

    The one I was thinking about was Early Edition:

    Some really powerful storylines in it, it was never always black and white as to what would happen and who would be saved (if at all).

  • thewhalehunters

    Right on Lisa. Great list and thanks for it! I’d add thinly disguised discussion topics on LinkedIn that are really only promotional.

  • lauraclick

    @ginidietrich Totally agree. I’ve had non-profits do that and even though I really love supporting charities, it still turns me off to get those kind of messages.

  • lauraclick

    Love this list. I wrote something similar several months ago for joey_strawn ‘s blog:

    The one I would add to the list is people who retweet compliments about themselves or Retweet every #FF mention. That drives me NUTS. Are you really that conceited?

  • lisagerber

    @DannyBrown Comment of the Day Award. right here. awesome!!!

  • countymedia

    This is fantastic!

  • lisagerber

    @FranchiseKing hahaha, I’ll watch for your tweets and def RT. if you buy my book. 🙂 actually, I DO agree, that if it is for a special cause or need, yes. ask to RT. and if its done extremely selectively. My comment is directed to the rest of the people that just want you to RT their promotional stuff.

  • lisagerber

    @countymedia glad you like!!: ) thanks for taking the time to say so.

  • lisagerber

    @lauraclick joey_strawn haha and we both put auto DM’s at the TOP of the list, yet, there are still so many out there. I got about 15 yesterday!!

    totally agree with linking all your social network sites. what’s the point and i HATE seeing @replies and hashtags on FB, just like I hate seeing check-ins there. unless it’s someplace super cool.

  • @lisagerber No problemo. I’ll buy yours if you’ll buy mine-

  • ginidietrich

    @FranchiseKing Joel, you auto DM. I’d be curious to understand why and if it hurts your follower ratio.

  • ginidietrich

    @DannyBrown @JamesDBurrell2 Are you guys going to see Battle: Los Angeles?

  • ginidietrich

    @lisagerber @DannyBrown Lisa. Haven’t we had serious conversation about stroking Danny’s ego?

  • ginidietrich

    @thewhalehunters I. Hate. LinkedIn. For that very reason!

  • lisagerber

    @ginidietrich @DannyBrown oops. sorry. you’re not going to make me work in the basement again, are you?

  • ginidietrich

    @lisagerber @DannyBrown No because the champagne and dessert are down there!

  • @ginidietrich @DannyBrown I think I may just have to. I’m a fan of ABC’s “V”, so alien invasion is right up my alley.

    Danny, the problem with watching Flash Forward on Netflix is that you’ll want a 2nd season, but you’ll forever be disappointed because there isn’t one coming. But, it may be well worth watching because I think there are some quality blog topics that can come from it. Knowing the future, what would you do?

  • Steve Birkett

    Hmm, let’s see…one minute you convinced me with whole heartedly (auto DM’s, mass #FF lists, games [oh my word, the games *shudder*), the next I’m thinking “Noooo! That’s not so WRONG!” (pls RT in the right place, invites to connect elsewhere).

    Largely, though, I think your summary is a pretty good guide to behaving well on social networks Lisa. I think it’s just more nuanced than right and wrong, however. As in life, some things really wind some people up, while others can stomach them. There’s a balance to be made between the social and promotional sides but the tightrope is a tough walk and we’ll fall here and there. Thanks for the balance pole post to help us make it across!

  • @lisagerber @ginidietrich Lisa, ignore Gini. She’s still pissed no-one asked for her autograph when she was in Toronto, except for an old guy in a movie memorabilia shop that thought she was Marlene Dietrich.

  • KevinVandever

    You had me at douchebaggery.

  • @ginidietrich @JamesDBurrell2 I’m going there in November to start a real one. Social media douchebags, look out. 😉

  • @lisagerber I’ll tell you what it is, it is the online version of an unreciprocated adolescent crush. In a word, awkwardness. “Ew, you poked me… yea, I’m sorry, I just don’t feel the same way. Perhaps had you commented on my blog or tweeted me first, I’d feel different, but just poking me out of the blue like this? Yea, it’s not going to work out.”

  • LingonLife

    All right, Gina, I’ll be the first to admit it. *hanging head* I use auto DMs to say Hi to new followers and let them know I am looking forward to reading their blogs and tweets. I never include a link or a request for them to do something. You have now convinced me of the error of my ways.

    From this moment forward, no more DMs from me. *properly chastised*

    PS. Please kindly overlook the fact that I instituted this new DM policy after having followed you 🙂 Monica

  • lisagerber

    @KevinVandever oh good. I wasn’t satisfied until I was able to use the word douchebag in some form. thank you. : )

  • LingonLife

    All right, I’ll be the first to admit it. *hanging head* I use auto DMs to say Hi to new followers and let them know I am looking forward to reading their blogs and tweets. I never include a link or a request for them to do something. You have now convinced me of the error of my ways.

    From this moment forward, no more DMs from me. *properly chastised*

    PS. Gini & Lisa, please kindly overlook the fact that I instituted this new DM policy after having followed you 😉 Monica

  • lisagerber

    @LingonLife First of all, you should be proud for confessing your twitter sins. : ) and secondly, if I’ve eliminated only one auto- DM, the world is a better place. I will add, though, in all seriousness, that a personal @ reply or DM is great. to say hi, maybe mention something about the person’s bio, pic or blog. It definitely takes more time, but that’s why it’s so much more meaningful.

  • ginidietrich

    @LingonLife LOL!! I was just checking you out online. How long have you been an expat? Do you know @johnfalchetto ??

  • ginidietrich

    @KevinVandever That’s where she had me, too.

  • LingonLife

    @lisagerber @LingonLife

  • ginidietrich

    @DannyBrown @lisagerber All you had to do was ask me and then I would have been happy. Jeez.

  • LingonLife

    @lisagerber Point well taken. Thnx!

  • LingonLife

    @ginidietrich @johnfalchetto I’ve been an expat for 8 yrs now and met John via Twitter. He is the Master Connector these days. After how highly he has spoken of you, I figured it was time to make your acquaintance.

  • ginidietrich

    @LingonLife @johnfalchetto You guys are all making me envious! I’d would pay some serious money to get you both in a room and hear about the pros and cons of living abroad.

  • Great list — right on. I also am annoyed by the “egg” profile image on Twitter or people on Facebook who don’t have a profile photo. I need to see a face (and not a logo).

  • JenniferKupiec

    My biggest pet peeve is over sharing on Facebook. I have an old high school friend that shares everything and that’s not an exaggeration. It starts when he gets up in the morning. We all know what he’s watching on tv at any given moment, if it’s bedtime for his kids, if it’s cold out, or if he’s home from work.

    And to make it worse, he has terrible spelling & grammar and most of the time there are words missing. If you’re going to over share, make it coherent.

  • KenMueller

    Amen, Amen, and Amen. I can agree with you on every one of these.

  • KenMueller

    Amen, Amen, and Amen. I can agree with you on every one of these.

  • zanybookgirl

    Personally, I have to say people who “like” their own FB statuses. I have a good friend that does this and it drives me batty.

    For companies, I’d say companies who ONLY tweet about themselves. Maybe I’d be okay with that if it involved a coupon or free cupcakes (which one of my recent unfollows started as). But questions about your delivery policies? I don’t think so.


  • LingonLife

    @ginidietrich @LingonLife @johnfalchetto Sounds like some serious plane ticket money to get us three in the same room. I’m game!

  • AbbieF

    1. The post that appears on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn — different audience, different “language,” different usage. If it is really relevant to all three, write some original copy for each.

    2. The follow that happens immediately after you use certain words – food, product name, words taken out of context, you can be within a couple minutes you’ll be followed (or stalked as the case may be).

    3. Facebook invites to events out of my market — there is very little chance I will get to your event but if I’m traveling to your market, I might pop over to your page to see what’s going on. Please be a little more selective.

  • georgie.mcneese

    Twitter followers who accidentally tweet the wrong person or reply to the wrong tweet make me crazy. I’m left saying “Huh?”.

  • ginidietrich

    @AbbieF Ha Abbie! I spoke at an event last night and someone asked why it’s not cool to use the same message on all the platforms. If I’d seen this at that point, I would have pulled it up and showed them.

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