The 5 Sins of Social Media Users

Social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are now not only personal expressions but company branding machines. With the proliferation of this new media, I have identified five sins that create weak impact—unless you are into rewarding stupidly bad behavior. And, they drive me crazy! The dark side of social media might hurt you more than help. Many companies see added stats to follower lists, but do they know that their supposed social media manager is cheating a system instead of engaging people? 

Here are five sins of social media users I hope we all can avoid!

1. Follow and dump. This is sometimes called “churning,” where you follow a bunch a people at a time to get them to follow you back. Then, once they do you dump them. This sin represents a bait-and-switch approach to what could otherwise be a human interaction. The tick of an additional follow is more important than connecting. Is this dirty trick really how you would deal with potential customers or clients in real life?

2. Buy your fame. The laziest and most tempting thing you can do is buy your followers. This can be done with anything from Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Pinterest. These “fake” followers might be from Russia or some other country where a digital sweatshop of people clicking on accounts exists. An employer may be happy to see that his or her social media manager has grown followers, but is that employer being well-served?

3. Robot responses. The automated responses to Twitter are truly more than an annoyance. Spam is one thing, but this is far worse. Also, if you use direct messaging, private messaging or the like, you are violating personal space and spending valuable attention with advertisements. It is one thing to share personal and “live” news, it is another to automate or simply cut-and-paste responses to people. Is your message worth being personal or would you rather be robotic?

4. Fire-hosing dogma. For those of us who are personal or individual brands, sharing too much about our political views is annoying on social media. Discussions with friends online is fantastic. But you may have people who follow you not for your politics or dogma. And if you are using a personal account to constantly push your multilevel marketing scheme, you will not be effective. How much of people’s attention will you take before you give something of value?

5. Spam commenting. If you are truly desiring to connect, a comment on a post is appropriate. Some cut-and-paste a standard “this is great” comment or like a post of yours to get you to follow them. While it is important to interact, it is spam to use someone’s Instagram account simply to get them to follow you. Do you “mean” the like and make the comment personal, or is it all really only about you?

These five sins of social media users are driving me crazy! I would love to hear about your experiences online. What drives you crazy about social media?  

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Rich Kirkpatrick is a family man, writer, speaker, and musician. A ministry veteran, he has served in worship and pastoral roles in small and large settings. In 2014 he authored the book, The Six Hats of the Worship Leader. You can find him at RKblog.com where he writes about creativity, faith, and leadership.