Seven Deadly Social Media Sins

I teamed up with my dad to illustrate seven ways to go wrong on social media. (And I have done probably all of these things, just so we’re clear, here. I point the finger at myself.)  Please note that almost any of these can have a right and proper place, but these are the most common ones I’ve heard people complain about. So it’s all about balance. Feel free to complain about how much your neck is hurting, but limit complaints to once a quarter. Definitely tell us about your accomplishments so we can celebrate with you, but not so often that it just feels like all you talk about is YOU. And we want to see pictures of your baby: we really do. But maybe not three times a day.

1. “Look at my perfect life!”

We are so happy that you finally found that perfect vintage chaise longue to reupholster and put in the corner of your magazine-worthy living room. We are delighted that all of your children are above-average in every way, and perfectly behaved. We couldn’t be more glad that you are vacationing on white sand beaches.

It wouldn’t kill you to garnish your perfection with a sprig of reality, would it?

Sometimes, when we’re reading about Your Perfect Life, we feel like this:

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 7.00.02 AM

2. “Happy Birthday to the most sizzlingly hot wife a man ever had! Can’t wait to see you tonight, babe!”

Word on the street is that no one minds Public Displays of Affection on your anniversary, but that we’d prefer that most of your flirting not be available for public viewing. Because it makes us feel icky.

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 7.12.28 AM

3. “Just finished a marathon/benched many pounds/demonstrated my physical prowess in other impressive ways!”

You deserve a medal! And maybe you got one. But please don’t make us all shine it for you, at least not every weekend. Feel free to invite us to celebrate the big accomplishments, but beware of posting all your physical activity. We just don’t need to know.

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Closely related to “look at my perfect life,” but more tied into your own accomplishments or inherent intelligence/wit/fabulousness, beware the…

4. Bragging (even–or especially–covert)

I often do a little test before I post something. The test is “what is the sub-text here? Am I just boasting?” There are about a million ways to back-handedly convey the message: “I am awesome!” and we are all pretty good at decoding that message, so be ye not too sure of the covert nature of your operations.

Sometimes, you really are awesome. And when you are, you should tell us. But not too often, or we might stop caring.

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 7.23.12 AM5. “Look at my baby!”

As I said in the intro, we all want to look at your baby! But if all your social media interaction is limited to baby photo posting, we might start to look away. Sometimes, it’s because we desperately want another baby (or just ONE baby!) and can’t have one. Sometimes, it’s because we want YOUR baby. (Kidding.)

Sometimes, forgive us, but we’re just bored.

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 7.27.38 AM6. “Click to read about how the other political party is destroying America!!!”

You are entitled to your political opinions, and you should feel free to share them on social media. But do be aware of what you’re sharing and why. Are you just displaying your own affiliations? Are you trying to convince someone who doesn’t already agree with you? Or are you just stirring the pot?

Most of the time, if we don’t already share your political views, your political posts leave us feeling unconvinced and possibly irritated. Or nauseated. Like this:

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 7.31.08 AM

Finally, we have:

7. “My back/neck/sinuses/feet/knees/legs/allergies/stomach is (are) killing me!”

One of the cheeriest and friendliest women I know in the world confided that she ‘unfollows’ repeat complainers. “You complain; you’re gone,” she explained simply. I understand. Listening to complaints can be a real drag.

We don’t expect you to be all Greatest Generation on us and never talk about how badly your exploded kneecap from Iwo Jima still hurts, but sometimes, when you do go on about your sniffles, we start to think about the dear old blind veteran amputee we know who never (or, okay, very rarely) talks about how much it all sucks, but is just happy to get his cup of coffee and shoot the bull:

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 7.40.39 AMJust to recap: none of these are deadly in isolation. It’s just that if all your posts fall in one or another of these categories, we might start to click away.

This is not a closed canon of ‘sins,’ so…

What social media behaviors are an abomination in your eyes? 

Because we might be able to illustrate that for you.

{Besides ‘friends’ who share posts from their own blogs, ahem ahem? 😉 }