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How to lose friends and alienate people on the social Web

Caitlin McGarry | May 7, 2013
We selected the most annoying social media behaviors that are guaranteed to make your friends hate you.

A plate of artfully arranged pasta or decadent pancakes is placed in front of you, and it looks so tasty that you want to share it with the world. Instead of reaching for your fork, you instead pull out your phone and open Instagram.

The compulsive need to photograph food, add a vintage filter, and upload it to Instagram (then cross-post it to Facebook and Twitter) is so pervasive that it's now officially a Social Media Annoyance (SMA).

Most of us (myself included) are guilty of this in one form or another. But some people just never seem to learn.

Recording every meal on Instagram is not the only social media faux pas that people regularly make. Here are the top ways to irritate and alienate most of the people on your friends list, at least for a moment. (Bonus points if you do them all on the same day to ensure your social contacts delete you en masse!)

Facebook photo tags

If you tag the backs of your friends' heads in photos on Facebook or upload old high school snapshots where everyone looks horrendous for the whole Internet to see, maybe resist that urge in the future. Receiving a Facebook photo tag notification should be a joyful occasion and not an instance of cyberterrorism.

Daily Foursquare bar check-ins are either fake or the sign of a problem

Fake Foursquare check-ins

Foursquare is useful. It tells you where your friends are if you want to meet, displays photos of places you've never been, and generally provides helpful information. But when you're passing a place without any intention of going inside, and you check in anyway only to displace someone else as "mayor" of the bar, that's just wrong. You may expose yourself if you do it too often. Being mayor of 16 different bars suggests either you're doing fake check-ins or you have a serious drinking problem.


When the Supreme Court heard a pair of gay marriage cases in March, the Human Rights Campaign encouraged Facebook users to change their profile photos to a red equality sign. No harm in showing support for a cause you believe in, but symbolic profile photos have become so common it's almost a cliché, and they really don't do much to change things. UNICEF Sweden agrees: The nonprofit launched an ad campaign this month that encourages people to donate time and money instead of Facebook likes.

Twitter abuse

Twitter encourages a stream of short, steady commentary, but there's no need to tweet every thought you have every minute of the day. Save some of them. For never.


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