I think the worst example I’ve seen of this was the “tell us what colour bra you’re wearing” status update, which was basically a salacious attempt at internet flirting thinly disguised as some sort of breast cancer awareness campaign. How does that make us more aware of breast cancer? Who on this planet is not aware of breast cancer? Before passing on one of these bulls*** “awareness-raising” messages, ask yourself exactly what kind of awareness you’ll be raising. What, exactly, do we need to be thinking more about, and how is your update going to help us?
Doing it right: “Blood in your poo or looser poo? Just tell your doctor.” (NHS Bowel cancer campaign)
Remember that tweet you read where, mid-way through a political term, your friend said how happy they were with the current government? No? Because it doesn’t happen. Regardless of where you are or who’s in power, you can be reasonably certain that everyone hates the current government, which makes your tweet about it pointless and boring. You can only hold two types of political view: either something that’s so commonly accepted that your tweet is redundant, or you’re spouting ill-informed, badly-thought-out jibberish. You are a self-righteous hypocrite – let’s get that out of the way to start with – so the only question is whether you’re a pompous, bigoted, unfeeling bastard (right) or a deluded, clueless middle-class-guilt-tripper (left). If you’re lucky, you might find a tiny circle-jerk of people who happen to share your exact same opinions, but if you’re simply reiterating what you all agreed on to start with, you have to ask yourself why you’re bothering to jabber on while everyone else thinks you sound like a total tw*t.
Doing it right: occasional links to petitions or single-issue campaigns are fine – I can’t imagine anyone objecting to those
Yeah, yeah, I’m a fine one to talk, because I tend to blog/Tumblr/tweet about the same handful of subjects – but almost everyone does that. I know what each person’s into, and that’s for the most part entertaining. One person links every few days to something cool about Doctor Who, and another one posts clips of the same two or three pop acts that they really like, and that’s great. It’s when it’s eight or nine posts every single day about one particular actor/pop star that it gets intimidating. If you really do need to tweet several times an hour about Ryan Gosling, please just change your account name to @iheartryangosling and be done with it. If your username is @iheartryangosling, then by all means, carry on – at least nobody can complain when you bombard your followers with Hey Girl pictures.
Doing it right: teenage girls, because you’re allowed to be hilariously OTT when you’re 15 years old. OK, so at 25, Nutty Madam might be stretching that a little, but hey …
4. Not As Advertised
This ties into both the politics and over-fandom thing. If there’s one thing worse than an individual bleating on about something annoying, it’s when said drivel spews from a corporate account. If I’m following a magazine – not an individual journalist – then I probably don’t give the teensiest s*** about their opinions on anything. Obviously, if it’s 360 Gamer I want to know their views on video games for the xbox 360, but I swiftly unsubscribed when they started ranting about politics, because if I wanted a magazine’s opinion on politics, I’d read The Economist. Your social feed should reflect the brand identity that you’ve established – so if your username is @Batman, only post stuff about Batman, and create a separate account for your ramblings about football.
Doing it right: X-Play, and everyone else who just sticks to the point
5. Food porn
Stop posting pictures of tasty-looking food! Grr! If I’m not currently on a diet, I’m still in a position where I don’t at that moment have access to delicious burgers, fluffy cupcakes and sumptuous cream buns – so stop bloody well posting pictures of them! That must somehow fall under cruel and unusual punishment – no doubt from previously having broken rules 1-4.
Doing it right: Women Laughing Alone With Salad