« Getting personal with business-related Twitter accounts | Main | Resolve to get your business in social media shape! »

Top 5 social media screwups of 2009

Neverspeakof2009 As we make our resolutions for the new year, we often reflect on our regrets or mistakes made during the past year.

And boy, there sure were some major online etiquette train wrecks in 2009.

Here at Poked, we realize that every day we're all learning new things about netiquette and best practices. Social media is constantly evolving, and tools like Twitter were new for tons of people this year -- especially folks trying to jump on the trend and use it as a business and customer relations tool.

So today we count down the five worst (and most frequently committed) online faux pas that we witnessed in 2009. Hopefully, history won't repeat itself in 2010.

5. Following porn. Sometimes people have a bad habit of automatically following back everyone who follows them on Twitter -- and it's especially true for people who use Twitter for business. They think if they use a tool to automatically follow back everyone, then they will have a more popular account.

But it just makes you look like a social media loser when you don't pay attention to the names and bios of who you follow (like hotsuzy_camgirl), and you start following accounts created for porn or for spam.

4. Talking smack about your job online. If you wouldn't say it to the boss, don't say it on Facebook or Twitter. It's amazing how many folks complain about work -- during work hours -- on places like Twitter. Maybe they think their bosses aren't wise enough to see what they're writing. But nothing is truly private online, and someone you work with is likely to see it. Chances are your company doesn't appreciate you broadcasting negative views about the company, and you're left looking like an employee who isn't a team player. Not a good impression to give during tough economic times.

3. Sending private messages publicly. Twitter and Facebook are all about instant communication. But we get so used to responding quickly on the go, that maybe we're moving too fast and not thinking before we hit send. Every so often you'll see someone send a message on Twitter that probably wasn't designed for the world to see. Like: Hey, call my cell 305-555-555 to talk about that exclusive secret business deal.

You can rush to delete it, but nothing is ever erased on Twitter. It gets picked up by search engines, even if it only exists online for a few seconds. Trust us on this one: Bridget learned this the hard way. While using text messages to talk to Niala on Twitter, she intended to send her a direct message and called a certain social media consultant annoying. But it went public. She deleted it within seconds, but it only took a minute for the consultant to see it and comment. Fortunately, that consultant was gracious enough to accept her apology.

2. Responding to e-mail with Reply All. We've had e-mail for awhile now, but it's still a hot zone for netiquette disaster. Why do people hit ``Reply all'' in mass messages when it's not something everyone needs to read? It only adds to the in-box clutter and could make you look foolish.

Back in August, one public relations consultant accidentally put 350 e-mails in a CC field, instead of a BCC field (which privatizes the e-mail addresses). Within two hours, our mailboxes were filled with tons of unsubscribe requests from strangers who hit reply all. It made people annoyed at the PR consultant and everyone who hit reply all.

1. Unintentionally sending spam or malicious links. Please, think twice before you click a strange link. You can't be so trusting on social networks these days. Facebook and Twitter accounts are being infected by malicious links through private messages. Click a strange link (usually something like: Hey you're in this video lolz!!!), and you won't be aware that you sent spam or a virus to most of your connections. And if you are a business account, you just lost the trust and respect of many of your followers.

Did you learn a netiquette lesson the hard way this year? Did someone's social media screwup seriously annoy you? Post a comment below or e-mail us at Poked@MiamiHerald.com.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Top 5 social media screwups of 2009:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Great list (of some not so great things). The only thing I'd add is Twitter spam, including:
-Retweet Requests - It's fine to put "pls RT" or the like by your tweets, but if we have never communicated in any way whatsoever, you shouldn't be DM'ing me asking for a RT. That is so annoying! Try saying hi first.
-Unsolicited Links - most people at one point or another fell for one of those seemingly cool twitter apps that then sent out unapproved messages through API. But there are a lot of people being more direct and just outright spamming with unsolicited links through DM or @reply. That's just downright rude!

Great post.

I've just included it in the January 2010 Carnival of Trust at:


I want to add my congrats to Jon Ingham's note above, congratulations on being selected to the January Carnival of Trust.

The Carnival of Trust makes monthly selections of the best of the web in broadly trust-related posts. Hosts, like Jon, are independent, and add a lot of value by commenting.

As the founder of the Carnival, I really enjoyed this one too. So much trust gets damaged by doing stupid things--but even more trust gets damaged by the inability to take responsibility for what has been done. These examples (including John Prieur's additional list above) are great raw material not only for what not to do, but also as examples of opportunities for trust recovery.

Congratulations again on your selection to the Carnival.

We all live in society, the society has to offer many things. At the same time, society evaluates you as a 'thing'. In other words, it finds out what are you are made up of, what you like to take from society, what you can offer etc... as per as the particular society is concerned. Yes, we live in many societies simultaneously and each society may have different opinion/discovery about you.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About The Miami Herald | Advertise