The Social Media Chutzpah Hit List

Recently, I was lunching at Chez Panera when I got rubbed the wrong way. No, it wasn’t you, Phoebe the Cashier – you’re aces in my book. It was the guy who asked for a cup of water and then filled with Dr. Pepper at the soda dispenser. His poor choice in soft drinks aside, who does that? The guy buys a $12 lunch and he thinks it entitles him to free soda, six ounces at a time? Seriously, who are these people?

senifeld meme

After a few dozen head shakes and eye rolls, my thoughts turned – as they inevitably do – to social media. What are some of the ballsy, unethical or just plain rude techniques employed on various social media platforms? What rubs me the wrong way? What pisses me off?

This is my no means a comprehensive list; I hope you’ll add your thoughts in the comments below:

  • Auto DMs. All of them. Without exception.
  • LinkedIn invites without context
  • Instagramming every meal (sometimes a sandwich is just a sandwich)
  • Private conversations held in public forums. Just because I’m Facebook friends with two girls from high school doesn’t mean I need to see the back-and-forth of their Friday night planning.
  • Calling yourself a “guru,” “ninja,” or “tsar.” (Oddly, “czar” is ok).
  • Not crediting your source material
  • Emoticons. If you can’t say what you mean with words, it’s not worth saying.
  • Synching the same message across multiple platforms
  • Broadcasting without listening or engaging
  • Repeating the same message over and over again. If I wanted to hear a broken record, I’d own a record player…and records. Yeah, I’m going to have to come up with a new metaphor.
  • Outdated technology metaphors. This list is crashing like my Treo 650…am I right, folks?
  • Debating politics on Facebook. No one has ever changed his or her vote because of a well-worded wall post.
  • Censoring criticism (or simply dissenting opinions) on the pages you manage
  • Speeling misstakes
  •  Using interns to run a corporate social media account
  • #TeamFollowBack
  • Using a Yiddish word in your title without providing a definition
  • No avatar (or profile picture)
  • An avatar that’s a logo (unless you’re managing a corporate account)
  • An avatar that’s a cartoon version of you. Hey, I like Mad Men and the Simpsons as much as anyone, but my avatar is my real-life obnoxious face for a reason.
  • An avatar that is from 15 years and/or 85 pounds ago. This isn’t online dating.
  • An avatar that has someone else in it.
  • An avatar that has someone else poorly cropped out of it. Really? You can’t find *one* decent headshot?
  • Misunderstanding your network’s privacy settings. I’m looking at you, Randi.
  • Abusing #hashtags because you #think they’re #fun. They’re #not. And you’re not #cool.
  • Asking for RTs all the time (every once in a while is cool, but don’t be the boy or girl who cried wolf). Side note: please RT this post!
  • Deleting your mistake in the hopes that no one saw it. This is the internet. Someone saw it. And screen capped it. And now that mistake has been posted somewhere else. Sorry.
  • Buying followers
  • Sharing overly personal details on your professional networks (sharing professional details on personal networks isn’t always advisable, but it’s rarely as obnoxious)
  • Connecting on LinkedIn with someone you don’t really know and/or with whom you have not worked
  • Complaining about those brands that have wronged you without ever praising those who have done right by you
  • Vaguebooking
  • Unfriending or disconnecting in the heat of the moment. Even with an ex.
  • Over-sharing your Foursquare check-ins
  • Mistaking social media buzz for a verified news source.
  • Humblebragging without ironically pointing out your own Humblebrag
  • Mocking someone’s religious or political beliefs. Disagreement is cool. Debate is usually OK. But there’s a reason we don’t call this “anti-social networking.”
  • Anti-social networking
  • Not posting a bio or “about me” page
  • Consuming without adding to the discussion. Read an interesting blog post? Add a comment (hint, hint).
  • Shameless self-promotion

Facebook and the Zombie High School Reunion

Mrs.matthewsm1th’s high school class celebrated its 10 year reunion last weekend, but they did so without my better half. “Why would I pay $200 to hang out with people I never really liked?” she reasoned. “Especially when Facebook tells me everything they’re all doing for free.”

I had a nice little rant planned about how reunions have been killed by the proliferation of social networks, but some Google research proved that I’m hardly the first to come to this conclusion. Instead of regurgitating the same old anecdotal stories and cherry picked stats, I thought I’d instead offer a few tips to the reunion industry to help it come back from the dead.

You know, like a zombie (and you thought the title was all about search engine optimization).

If you’re part of the organizing committee for your high school reunion, here are five ideas you can implement to ensure that Facebook doesn’t drain the life blood out of your guest list:

1. Real Life Superlatives – whatever happened to your high school class’s “Most Likely to Succeed?” Did he launch a successful internet startup and sell it to The Man for a cool $500 million? Or did he drop out of college and focus full time on fantasy sports management from his parents’ basement? At your next reunion, recognize the guy or gal who actually DID succeed and watch as the registration list fills up with Wall Street, Silicon Valley and lottery winner types. (TARGET DEMO: Neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerds!)

2. Arm Wrestling Contest – OK, so maybe the life success barometer won’t entice too many blue collar types to attend, but a physical challenge? Sign me up, coach! TARGET DEMO: jocks and the “Jersey Shore” types. Plus, anyone who likes jokes about Lincoln Hawk.

3. Who Wore it Best? – inspired by the asinine and ridiculously popular feature in US Weekly, a panel of catty class fashionistas reviews reunion styles and passes judgement. TARGET DEMO: women who make themselves feel better by saying nasty things about other women. Also known as 98% of women.

4. Baby-Free Zone – most of the people with whom I went to high school have kids…and most of those people use their kids’ faces as their Facebook profile picture. No more passing around iPhones or making the unwed/barren feel bad about their disposable income and regular sleep schedules. After all, reunions should be about the people, not the procreations. TARGET DEMO: the childless…and the people who hate their own kids.

5. Embrace a Cause – did you really think a philanthropy-inspired blog could leave off a philanthropy angle? Each guest picks one cause close to his or her heart. $10 of everyone’s registration fee gets pooled together and, at the end of the night, one charity is selected at random to receive the funds. TARGET DEMO: anyone with a heart.

Got any more Zombie Reunion ideas? Please share them below.

Social Media Connection Criteria

At the top of my blog, I have links to my Twitter, Facebook (fan page), LinkedIn and Klout – ostensibly so my readers can learn more about me. The truth is that it’s also a semi-veiled exercise in vanity. The more people who choose to connect me with, the more important I am…right?

But a couple of weeks ago, a real-life encounter with a woman I knew through Twitter made me realize that not everyone thinks the same way I do. “Hey – are you @_______?” I asked (I’ll keep her identity anonymous because she’s one of those smart, passionate people who makes her living as a “Social Media Expert”).

“Yes,” she replied, at first struggling to place me. “Oh you must be that guy who keeps Tweeting at me.”

That guy who keeps Tweeting at you? Isn’t that the point of social media…to make virtual connections and convert them into tangible relationships? Why was my extroverted digital identity being greeted by a look and tone that (I can only imagine) are usually saved for stalkers? Isn’t this how we’re supposed to connect in our increasingly digital 21st century world?

After a few chops were busted, the woman and I buried the hatchet and have since started a friendship in the real world (we’re also connected on Facebook, LinkedIn and through reciprocal follows on Twitter).

Another anecdote: in describing the importance of social networking to a colleague who carries an “old school salesman” approach, I told him that LinkedIn is increasingly replacing the “business card culture.” No one likes trading and collecting business cards anymore; people – especially those under 40 – are more likely to connect with a fresh contact on LinkedIn than store a 2 x 3.5 inch piece of paper in something as old-fashioned as a Rolodex.

My colleague was horrified. Not only does he still insist on handing out and collecting business cards, but he explained that he is loath to connect with anyone on LinkedIn with whom he does not have a REAL relationship. Rather than use the social networking tool as a virtual means to collect and manage real life contacts, he filters out his “connections” to include only those people he actually knows…and knows well.

I suppose our two approaches can be broken down to something as simple as the difference between “leads” and “customers,” but since I’m not in sales, the conversation further reinforced that I have a very different idea of what a social network “connection” really means.

For simplicity’s sake, here are my criteria for deciding on who to friend, like, connect with and/or follow:

  • Facebook – have we met in real life? Do we have a social circle with even a modest overlap? If we went to high school together, would I intentionally make eye contact if I saw you on the street today?
  • Twitter – do you have anything interesting to say and/or share?
  • LinkedIn – have we worked together, either for the same employer or on a common project? Have we talked about working together? Did we swap business cards as more than just a courteous formality, but as a means to ensure we could stay in touch?

To me, that’s common sense…but not everyone has to agree. Does anyone else subscribe to specific criteria before determining whom they should friend, follow and/or connect? What are your social media criteria, and how do you get the most out of social networking…without picking up a virtual restraining order?

What’s Your Social Media Routine?

Growing up, my dad was a creature of habit. He would wake up and “liquidate his assets” for what seemed like a ridiculously long time. Then he’d go downstairs, turn on sports radio and eat a bowl of cereal with one-quarter of a sliced banana (yes, we had quartered bananas in saran wrap in our fridge on the daily). He’d go back upstairs, have his daily constitutional, then get dressed and head off to work.

Why am I sharing details about my father’s internal waste management system? For some reason, I thought of him today after launching into my morning routine…a routine that revolves largely around social media.

When the alarm clock goes off, I hit snooze and get back in bed. The nine minutes of silence are usually enough time to check the overnight Twitter updates on my phone (I fave the Tweets I want to read in detail later). The second alarm gets me up and dressed to walk the dog, during which time I check out Facebook. After a shower, I get on my laptop to peruse sites not ideally viewed on my iPhone. This includes viewing my favorite daily deal sites (woot and shirt.woot), as well as checking out my Klout score and any new perks that may have popped up.

(Quick tangent that may be better served as its own blog post: how effing addictive is Klout? And why do I even care about the rating I’ve been given by some arbitrary algorithm? And why am I obsessed with Klout perks? And why are perks often posted before being publicized, causing freaks like me to obsessively check to see if we’re eligible for free stuff?)

Every day. Wake up. Twitter. Walk the dog. Facebook. Shower. Laptop. Get dressed. Go to work. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Is my social media morning routine indicative of today’s hyper-connected world, a world in which I know more about people I follow on Twitter than people who live next door? It’s certainly possible that my borderline OCD behavior is unique…but I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not alone in making social media the center of my daily habits.

What is your social media routine? Do you lie in bed on your Crackberry annoying your significant other, or is he/she busy furiously scrolling through messages at the same time? How often do you check back on social media sites throughout the day? How regularly do you post? And how do you manage the insanity of thriving in multiple virtual worlds without sacrificing output in the real one?

I’m truly curious to learn how social media has part of your daily routines…just feel free to leave out the “waste management” information.