12 types of Facebook updates to avoid

No hard sales. No guilt trips. And for Pete’s sake, run that ‘amazing story’ through Snopes before you post it.


Much has been written about annoying social media habits, but some people—and brands—continue to make mistakes on Twitter and Facebook.

To that end, here are 12 types of Facebook posts you should avoid. After all, could you see yourself handing out any of this at a cocktail party?

1. Disturbing photos

Pictures of starving babies, burned dogs, and people with horrible disfigurements are in poor taste and are very upsetting to some people. We know there is usually a very good cause involved, but use some discretion.

2. Hard sales

Not everyone is in the market for expensive make-up or real estate. Share something the whole class can enjoy.

3. Guilt trips

“Make this your status for an hour or else you were a) not raised right or b) don’t care about babies with cancer” just makes people feel bad. The modern version of a chain letter doesn’t help the cause.

4. Games

This is like forcing people to play charades when they hate parlor games. Ask them first if they like games and whether they will mind the hacks, spams and viruses that come with some of them.

5. Urban myths

Before posting that eating pomegranate seeds will cause your kneecaps to burst, run it through Snopes.

6. Religion

Don’t assume everyone shares your faith. There are places people can go for fellowship and like-minded praise and worship: actual buildings and private Facebook groups.

7. Confessions

Too much information is, well, too much. If you wouldn’t tell your spouse, your mother, or your shrink why would you tell me?

8. Obscenity

A well-placed expletive is justified for real outrage or disappointment. A post with 10 F-bombs about a funny YouTube video shows a real lack of vocabulary.

9. Fire alarms

“Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!” posts about all manner of foods that will give you cancer or a neti-pot worm that will eat your brain should be thoroughly vetted first. (See No. 5.)

10. Cryptic updates

“I’m so mad!” doesn’t really give us a lot to go on or any way to help.

11. No links

Telling us about a great website is fine, but please share the link. And not the one with 417 characters; make it a shortened one, please.

12. Wrong tech advice

If you run a tech support company, share advice on the best antivirus software or the right way to partition a hard drive. Just make sure it’s correct.

In short, behave online like you would at a social event. Rules of polite society have not been suspended for internet interaction. Seriously.

What’s your least favorite kind of Facebook post?

Kim Phillips is the founder of Lucid Marketing and author of the “Lucid at Random” blog. You can connect with Kim on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. A version of this story first appeared on the 12 Most blog.

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