I’ve been blogging now – albeit part time and less than whole heartedly – for almost five years on four separate (but not concurrent) sites. I’ve been using social media for just a little longer, so you’d think I would know the etiquette by now, but just when I think I have it nailed, I learn something new; either that or I realise that I’ve been doing things incorrectly all along. That’s why I love posts like Tim’s The 7 Don’ts of Social Media Etiquette For Bloggers. Some extremely valid points that, quite refreshingly, I’m not guilty of; but it did get me thinking, what am I guilty of that really isn’t cricket? Well in a twist to conventional blogging tradition, rather than preach to you lot about what you should be doing, I’m going to tell you what I’m doing wrong. It will probably ignite a forest fire of paranoia and I’ll almost certainly lose some followers, but let me reassure you that the things I list below don’t apply to you, I’m not really that malicious. I use them on other people, not you, you’re special:
Ending a chat with a like. Sometimes I get into conversation on Twitter or Facebook purely by accident. I’ll see a post, then comment or reply just to prove I’m not completely automated/scheduled, not expecting any kind of response and then the phone goes and there’s a reply. I really don’t have the time to get into a discussion so I’ll just like the reply and kill the conversation dead. I’ve done the same when a conversation goes on for longer than I had originally thought it would. 18 comments later, on what started as a very simple yes/no question, and it has eventually become very tiresome, so out pops the like button and off goes the phone.
Commenting on a title. Sometimes, when I’ve had a really long day, I know I should get round to reading blog posts but on rare occasions, I really can’t be arsed. Out of some naive sense of duty, rather than just wait until the next day, or the next day off, I’ll just make a vague comment based loosely on the title of the blog post without actually reading it. Duty served, I then bookmark the blog post to be read later. It’s quite often at that point I realise that I’ve caught the complete wrong end of the stick and have commented somewhat inappropriately.
Answer comments for the sake of it. Reneé from Mummy Tries had disabled the comments function from her blog posts because answering them had become quite exhausting and time consuming. Whilst I’m nowhere in the same league as her, I understand completely where she’s coming from. I get some really great comments, on all social media platforms, from people who’ve taken the time out of their day to read what I’ve written, the least they deserve is an appreciative and heartfelt response, but there are times when I really haven’t got it in me. Again, out of some misplaced need to feel like I’m responding quickly – and because Facebook actually tells you how long it takes me to do it – I answer immediately after seeing the comment. This often results in a weak and pithy one liner that probably doesn’t even address the original comment.
Like a photo without even looking at it on Instagram. I get quite a few likes on Instagram from a lot of lovely people, but I don’t take as much time as I should to repay the favour and sit through my timeline admiring everybody else’s photos. I have to admit, that there have been times when I see a photo posted by someone who has liked several of my photos without a response in kind for some time, so I’ll just like the photo. If you were to ask me 5 seconds later what the photo was of, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.
Use someone else’s blog because I have nothing. I’ve already said that I do this blogging part time; sometimes I go months between posts. But when even I think it’s been a little too long, I’ll ask someone else if I can reblog their work just to fill my gap. Either that or I’ll ask someone to guest blog.
Blamed technical reasons for unfollowing someone. There have been times when I’ve unfollowed someone just because I really haven’t liked what they’ve posted. There have been times when I’ve done it by accident and then followed back quite quickly. Then there are times when I’ve just unfollowed someone because we haven’t interacted for a significant period of time, only to have them message me asking why I’ve unfollowed. Rather than saying the truth, I’ve blamed technical issues with the social media platform for unfollowing them without me knowing about it, but thanking them for bringing it to my attention and followed them right back.
Let relationships fade away due to laziness. This one, for me, is the most unforgivable. I used to follow almost 10 thousand people across a number of social media platforms. To stay in touch with everyone on a daily basis is simply not possible, but those people who I genuinely click with, I try to get in touch with as often as possible. There have been times when, through my own laziness, I’ve not put the effort into the relationship that I should. Other people have take the time just to say “Hi” and I’ve been too lazy to get back in touch, or I’ll say I’ll do it later. Later doesn’t come and before you know it, it’s been 6 months and I haven’t talked to the person I used to chat to daily. These lost social media relationships are the things I regret the most from my blogging journey.
Well there you have my ‘Seven Confessions of Social Media Use’. I really am sorry for doing these, and I have to stress that they are on very rare occasions, but I have to hold my hands up that I have done them. I hope you’ll forgive me, and remember: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone! Have a look at yourself, and if you can honestly say that you are completely sin free, then you have my respect; stone away Sir/Ma’am.