Unless you’ve been living under a rock, odds are you have at least one social media account. (The reality is you have more like four or five.) The downside of so many “connections” is something of a paradox: social media can often alienate the very people we’re trying to keep in touch with. From oversharing to constant complaining, these social media habits could be holding you back both personally and professionally. And for more great tech coverage, check out these 15 terms from the 90s no one uses anymore.
Accepting Every Friend Request
Just as you wouldn’t let a stranger into your home, you shouldn’t let them into your social media bubble. Accepting friend requests from strangers means that your friends are likely to get unwanted and annoying requests, too. It also means that you’re sharing private information with someone you don’t know. This could lead to unwanted spam, requests for money, or might even get your photos used in ways you’re not comfortable with. And for more great career advice, here’s why you should leave your out-of-office reply on all the time.
Sharing Annoying Memes
Yeah, Salt Bae was funny the first five or ten times we saw it, but sharing the same tired memes over and over gets old fast. If you’re posting more memes than actual content, don’t be surprised when you see your follower count dwindling.
Playing Fast and Loose With Photo Tags
We get it: that party last weekend was amazing, and you want to remember it forever. However, your friend who’s searching for a job probably doesn’t want a picture of them looking sloppy drunk on Facebook. Same goes for your self-conscious pal with closed eyes and a double-chin in all your photos. You should be equally careful with your tagging settings and only allow photos you’ve approved to show up on your profile.
That’s great that your new boyfriend is so sexually gifted, and it’s a bummer that your rash came back. But seriously, nobody wants to hear about it—not your colleagues, not your great aunt, not even your best friend. If you need to deliver the intimate details of your personal life, do it in person.
Sending Social Game Requests
Your friends probably have little trouble finding games they want to play online, so there’s no need for those incessant game requests. If you are playing a game on social media, make sure you turn off your sharing settings or risk losing friends online.
So, people keep mistaking you for a model even when you’re un-showered and in sweats? Great. You played a bad set but a record producer told your band that you’re the best thing since the Beatles? Awesome. If you’re considering sharing any of these so-called accomplishments in a pseudo-self-deprecating way on social media, refrain. The humblebrag, social media’s most annoying way of patting yourself on the back, is a surefire way to have your followers running for the hills.
Trashing Your Workplace
Even if you think you have your profile locked down, that doesn’t mean your information is 100 percent safe. Badmouthing your boss, coworkers, or company culture on what you think is a private social media profile is a bad idea, no matter how tight those privacy settings are. All it takes is one angry colleague to report you to the powers that be. And for more advice on getting ahead, here’s how to turn the job you have into the job you want.
If you feel the need to share something that annoyed or delighted you with your social media followers, actually share it. Vaguebooking, the practice of sharing only part of a story hoping that your followers will demand more info—e.g. “Somebody did something to me but I’m too mature to say who or what”—is confusing, attention-seeking, and above all, annoying. Don’t do it.
Posting Constant Relationship Updates
Your relationship milestones may be a big deal to you, but that doesn’t mean everyone feels the same. In fact, some experts believe that posting constant relationship updates online is a means of overcompensating for a less-than-stellar connection.
Making Your Profile Public
The internet is a big place, and having a public profile is like inviting millions of people to watch your personal life as it unfolds. Keeping your profile locked down as much as possible means you’re keeping your info safe; don’t worry, your friends will still be able to find you.
That joke about the merchant marine and the grave digger and the nun may seem funny now, but it won’t be a laughing matter when it gets you fired from your job. Your raunchy humor is best delivered in person, if at all.
Refusing to Fact-Check
What do you think the odds are that half of the kids in your neighborhood were really handed ecstasy with their M&Ms this Halloween? The internet is full of false information, so make sure you’re fact-checking what you share before you contribute to the cycle of misinformation.
Sharing Private Info
It’s not just your own information that you should be careful with online. Posting info about a great job interview, revealing stuff about an upcoming project at work, or even just mentioning a friend’s pregnancy before they’ve announced it to the world can be a major violation of privacy. Make sure you have the go-ahead before making announcements about someone else.
Have you taken the red pill? Do you think that adding “#thinkaboutit” to posts is going to make people think? Do you just kind of think you’re smarter, more charitable, or more enlightened than your friends? Can it. Unless you have a concrete accomplishment to tie your personal pat on the back to, keep it to yourself. Reminding people why you’re better than them on social media rarely goes over well.
If the impulse to be a jerk for no real reason washes over you, try to ignore it. This is especially true on social media, where your trolling attempts can be easily screencapped by others and sent to your boss.
Sharing Petitions Constantly
Whether you want healthier school lunches or an end to big game hunting, online petitions can help get your message out to millions. However, if you’re sharing endless petitions on social media, you’re not only bugging your followers, you might be making yourself seem like a less-than-passionate advocate for your causes. Fact-check and pick wisely before you post.
Not Editing Past Posts
We all make mistakes, but they don’t need to be part of your permanent online record. Periodically go through your social media accounts and delete those cringey jokes and photos.
Crowdsourcing Medical Advice
Social media is an amazing tool, but it’s no substitute for actual medical care. If you have a health issue that needs resolving, ask your doctor for advice, not Twitter. If you want to improve your health on your own, start with the 20 Healthy Living Rules You Should Live By.
Sharing Boring Stuff
Your breakfast, feelings about the weather, or updates from the traffic jam you’re stuck in aren’t interesting. If you want to keep your followers on social media, do your best to make your posts at least somewhat newsworthy or entertaining.
Never Using Your Account
Not using your account is just as bad as overusing it. The old “out of sight, out of mind” adage is particularly true on social media, so make sure you’re posting from time to time so your friends and colleagues don’t tune you out. When you’re ready to make a splash online, try these 15 Cold Open Business Emails That Set You Apart!