After you’ve used social media sites for a while, you start finding common patterns, specifically, annoying patterns. Although each one of us is annoyed by different things, usually there are commonalities that annoy each and every one of us. I’ve decided to create my own list of pet peeves and share it with you.

 
Originally I was hesitating whether I should call this article ‘Pet Peeves in social media’ and have one section for Twitter, one for Facebook and one for LinkedIn, all sites I know really well. However, considering I have fewer LinkedIn pet peeves, than say, Twitter pet peeves, I think I need more time to get a list worth reporting. So for now this is only for Twitter.

 
Second, after I came up with this subject I met a great guy on Twitter, Darren Williger (@Williger). Not only he’s extremely witty and hilarious, but it turns out he also created – a video – that (can you guess it?) is about Pet Peeves in Twitter. I thought that I can’t seriously write an article on the subject without including his video. I am fully aware that no matter what I say, people will remember Darren’s video (which is awesome) as the point of this post. Oh well, I bow down before you, Darren – absolutely brilliant video!

 
Here’s my list of Pet Peeves. Feel free to add some of your own.

  1. Many users have some kind of auto-follow script – so when you follow them, you get a direct message (DM) “Thank you for following me, blah blah blah”. That’s fine with me. However, the thing that irritates me the most (more than spammers!) are the users that send you the DM – but don’t follow you back, so you can’t respond! It goes along the lines of “Thank you for following me. Here’s my blog. Can you tell me about yourself?” (remember, all automated). But I can’t answer! Because you haven’t followed me! I’d much rather not get anything, and not be followed than get a message I can’t reply to!

     

  2. Following the previous item are the users who have an auto-follow that sends you to some kind of unrelated sales page. Sometimes the description is even deliberately misleading like, “learn about me in this link” or “read my blog here” but when you press the link, it’s a sales page! Dude, we just got to know each other, and you’re already asking me to buy something from you? What are the chances this is going to work? Occasionally these links are broken and don’t even work – which truly makes these users look ridiculous. I used to respond to them “your links are broken” but never received a response. Not even once.

     

  3. Bots, particularly the sophisticated ones. I don’t know whether these are real people who do 90% automation, or bots that occasionally have a real person controlling them (there’s a subtle different in my opinion). But do any of these sentences look familiar?
    • 140 cramping your style?
    • Apu Akhbar?
    • Ma Shlomkha?
    • Como está?
    • Hur är det?
    • What’s everyone talking about?
    • Robin Williams survived open-heart surgery; has new role in film – and life
    • Too many tweets. Too little time to reply.
    • Why is Twitter a verbal gym? Stress relieve for the mind.
    • The day ends with a tweet.
    • iphone is always ringing. standby
    • Random tweets
    • Is Obama doing a good job?
    • Ogenki desu ka

    I’m sure some at least look very familiar. Guys, I understand you want to automate things, but for crying out loud, get a better list. All these are real messages I’ve seen over and over and over and over. The ironic thing is that one of the messages is ‘random tweets’. My guess is that someone made a list of things to tweet, and the title was ‘random tweets’, and somehow this got into the actual list of things being tweeted about.

     
    I tend to retweet them with a smart ass comment, and never, ever, received a response. i.e. “Ma Shlomkha? -> Do you even understand what that means? Of course you don’t, you’re a bot” (it’s “what’s up?” in Hebrew).

     

  4. Spammers: I won’t elaborate. They annoy me less than most people. I even find them funny at times (read my post 5 Different Types of Spammers).

     

  5. Users promoting products in an idiotic way. Personally, I have no problem with people using Twitter as a vehicle for promoting products – not at all (hey, I may do this too at some point). But come on, be smart about doing this. Don’t say “Want to learn how to make $158,081 in less than 8 hours?” or “Gain 1,500 followers in the next 21 minutes!”, be smarter about this. No one in his right mind will take you seriously. And if they do, I assure you, they don’t have a credit card or a way to pay you.

     

  6. People doing #FollowFriday for people they don’t follow themselves. Quick explanation: #FollowFriday is a very nice Twitter Tradition. Usually every Thursday/Friday people will tweet a list of the people they recommend for following. Some just include names, other give lists with brief titles “amusing conversations” “sweet and funny”, etc. This is what gives Twitter its personality.

     
    However, some people do #FollowFriday for people they don’t follow themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s okay to retweet someone’s FollowFriday tweet even if you’re not following the person (since you’re basically just saying “listen to this guy, he knows what he’s saying”), but don’t publicly recommend following someone when you’re not following your own advice. It’s like a health guru eating junk food in secret – do what you preach!

     
    In particular I was irritated by a guy I tried to converse with a while ago (we have some things in common so I thought he’d be interesting to chat with). He ignored 2-3 tweets I sent him. One day I RTed two of his tweets. he ignored these too. Ok, I get it, he doesn’t want to talk. However, the next Friday he included me in his #FollowFriday. He wasn’t talking to me (at all), or following me himself, but he publicly recommended that people follow me. How hypocritical is that?

     

  7. The last one is pretty mild: Direct Messages (DMs) that require 10 separate messages. Yes, I understand the whole 140 character limit (that’s the point of microblogging), but at times you want to say more, and the only alternative is to use 10 consecutive messages. My friend Suzanne gets a phone call for every one of those and it can become really annoying. I would’ve much preferred if the direct message system was not limited to 140 characters (blasphemy, I know!), or alternatively, it could send you to an extra app that allows you to write one long email which will automatically be broken up. Or even just use real email (which is my preference).

 
That’s my list. Any ideas for more?

 
Edit: Although Twitter is still crawling with thousands of bots, they did take out the bot network I mentioned in #3 about 1-2 months after I posted this (not that I think there’s a connection…).

 
Edit 2: After writing this post I befriended Darren (the funny guy in the video). This friendship was a catalyst for so many positive things in my life. One of these is Social Media 201.

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