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20 Social Media Mistakes You Need To Stop Making

From Facebook to Twitter, these mistakes may be costing you friends, online and in real life.

Social media is so commonplace nowadays that you're bound to have at least one online account. But whether it's Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or another social network, making connections online isn't as simple as it may seem. In fact, there are many social media habits you have that could actually be alienating the very people you're trying to connect with. Your old best friend from the third grade may not enjoy your constant oversharing status updates, and your aunt Susan might not be too happy when receiving yet another Facebook game request. To help you out, we've rounded up all the social media mistakes you're making that could be holding you back both personally and professionally.

You're accepting every friend request.

Facebook friend request, ways to feel amazing

Would you let a stranger into your home? No. So don't let them into your social media bubble either. 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—and this could lead to unwanted spam, requests for money, or your photos being used in ways you're not comfortable with.

You're sharing annoying memes.

meme on phone with man looking at it

OK, sure—Salt Bae was funny the first five or ten times we saw it. But sharing the same tired memes over and over gets old real fast. If you're posting more old memes on your feed than actual content, don't be surprised when you see your follower count dwindling.

You're playing fast and loose with photo tags.

Blur portrait of blissful young people posing with balloons at birthday party with hands holding phone on foreground. Man taking photo of friends celebrating something and using smartpone. - Image

We get it. That party last weekend was amazing, and you want to remember it forever. However, your friend who is searching for a job probably doesn't want a picture of them looking sloppy drunk on Facebook. And the same goes for your self-conscious pal with closed eyes and bad angles in every photo. Be careful when it comes to tagging friends in photos, and also make sure you only allow photos you've approved to show up on your own profile.

You're oversharing.

teenager on smartphone, parent divorce

Honestly, it's great that your new boyfriend is so sexually gifted, and truly, it's a bummer that your rash came back. But nobody wants to hear about it—not your colleagues, not your second cousin, not even your best friend. If you need to deliver the intimate details of your personal life, do it in person.

You're sending social game requests.

man typing on his phone

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. We all remember FarmVille.

You're humblebragging.

delete instagram account

So, people keep mistaking you for a model even when you're unshowered 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 accomplishments in a pseudo-self-deprecating way on social media, please 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.

You're trashing your workplace.

woman typing on her phone

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 still 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.

You're posting vaguely.

woman texting in bed wearing pajamas, sex emojis

If you feel the need to share something that annoyed or delighted you with your social media followers, actually share it. "Vaguebooking" is the practice of sharing only part of a story hoping that your followers will demand more info. Like, "somebody did something to me but I'm too mature to say who or what," with the intention of waiting for someone to ask you to spill the deets. In the end, it's just confusing, attention-seeking, and above all, annoying. Don't do it.

You're posting constant relationship updates.

Man ignoring his wife because he's too distracted by his phone

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. "Often it's the people who post the most who are seeking validation for their relationship from other people on social media," relationship expert Nikki Goldstein told Daily Mail Australia. Yikes!

You're making your profile public.

older white man sipping coffee while on his laptop

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 the best you can. And, don't worry, your friends will still be able to find you.

You're joking inappropriately.

man on phone ignoring other people

That joke about the merchant marine and the gravedigger 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.

You're refusing to fact check.

man walking and texting on his phone

What do you think the odds are that half the kids in your neighborhood were really handed ecstasy disguised as M&M's this Halloween? The internet is full of false information, so make sure you are fact checking what you share before you contribute to the cycle of misinformation.

You're sharing information you shouldn't be.

girl on her couch on phone

It's not just your own information that you should be careful with online. Posting details 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 any announcements about yourself or someone else.

You're getting high-and-mighty.

old man texting, stress signs

Do you believe that adding "#thinkaboutit" to your posts is going to make people think? Do you feel like you're smarter, more charitable, or more enlightened than your friends? Just can it. Unless you have a concrete accomplishment to go along with your personal pat on the back, keep it to yourself. Reminding people why you're better than them on social media rarely goes over well.

You're trolling.

Guy on Phone Smiling Romance

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 captured by others and shared around. And it'll be a little too late to start apologizing once it gets to your boss.

You're sharing petitions constantly.

young woman on cell phone

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 also might be making yourself seem like a less-than-passionate advocate for your causes. Fact check and choose wisely before you post.

You're not editing past posts.

weight loss motivation

We all make mistakes. After all, when you're thirteen and posting online, you might not be saying the most intelligent things. But these posts don't need to be part of your permanent online record. Periodically go through your social media accounts and delete those cringe-inducing jokes and photos from years past.

You're crowdsourcing medical advice.

woman looks at phone shock disbelief

Social media is an amazing tool, but it's definitely no substitute for actual medical care. If you have a health issue that needs resolving, ask your doctor for advice, not Twitter. Even if you happen to have doctors in your online circle, asking them to work past their normal hours and without pay is disrespectful.

You're sharing boring stuff.

older white man using his tablet on couch

Let's face it: Your breakfast, feelings about the weather, or updates from the traffic jam you're stuck in just aren't that interesting. If you want to keep your followers on social media, do your best to make your posts at least somewhat newsworthy or entertaining.

You're never using your account.

woman holding phone looking out window

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 completely.

Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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