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How not to be a social media douchebag

How to Not Be a Social Media Douchebag

We all know at least a few social media douchebags. They come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, and on all different platforms. It might be your friend who sends you too many game invites, a Mary Kay rep who won’t stop adding you to their sales group, or a small business who just doesn’t “get it”.

If you’re afraid you might be a social media douche, here are a few tips:

Turn off your Twitter autoresponder

I might engage and interact with you on a Twitter chat, or see someone retweet awesome and valuable content that you posted, but if I follow you and I get an automated DM it doesn’t matter how much I though I liked you, I will instantly un-follow you.

There is nothing more impersonal than an auto-DM. While it hypothetically could send a few new followers to your website or get them stuck them in whatever shit trap you have set, it will instantly brand you as an asshole.

Don’t do it.

Don’t just follow to get followers

I’ve seen article after article advising people on Twitter and Instagram to use following and unfollowing as a way to grow your audience.

The idea is that you follow lots of people. People see that you follow them, look at your profile, and might follow you back. Then you unfollow all of the people who didn’t follow you.

This is how one blog puts it:

Go… and follow new people. After a week or two, if the new people don’t follow you back, then unfollow them. Continue to repeat the instructions above. You are building your list.

This is an awesome way to grow a shitty, unengaged audience and annoy the hell out of everyone else by messing with their follower count.

Let’s say that again.

Following and unfollowing is an awesome way to grow a shitty, unengaged audience and annoy the hell out of everyone else by messing with their follower count.

Here it is again in a Tweetable box, just to make sure you read it correctly:

Following and unfollowing is a great way to grow an unengaged audience and annoy the hell out of everyone else. Click To Tweet

If you do this you are such a selfish, lazy, self-centered and delusional prick. Get over yourself.

If you don’t actually want to engage with your audience, at least use them

I understand being a business or blog and wanting to follow people without actually engaging very much. We all have lives. Most companies don’t have the time to be a part of online communities and have genuine conversations.

Many bloggers have social media accounts for their blogs, and also personal accounts. Nobody has time to genuinely engage with people on multiple platforms from multiple profiles.

BUT, there’s an easy way around this time suck: using your social media following to curate content. If you follow accounts relevant to your industry, niche, and interests, they will be posting content that you can also use.

If someone posts something you like, re-post it. Re-Tweet it. Re-pin it. Use it for your next blog “round-up”. Sharing the content that your followers post is a great way to beef up your social media content while also keeping your followers involved and included.

Don’t automate comments begging for likes/comments/link clicks

If you have ever left a comment reading something along the lines of: Great content. Check out the link in my bio! I want you to do something for me.

Punch yourself in the face. Right now. You deserve it.

Automated comment spam is annoying and a dick move, and whatever benefit in traffic or additional follows you get is drowned out by the destruction of your brand.

Not to mention, automated comments can get a bit creepy.

What might be even worse is the “follow for follow?” comments I sometimes get, especially from people with pathetically small, unengaged audiences. Get your head out of your ass. Follows are not a currency that I trade, nor should you.

Social media winner

Instead take all the time you spent setting up your automation software, choosing people and hashtags to spam, and writing a few versions of sad, pathetic, desperate comments, and put that time towards actually having online conversations. Comment genuinely, even if all you’re leaving is five heart-eye emojis on a really cute picture of a dog.

How I built an Instagram following of more than 2000 in a year without being an insufferable wang

My Instagram following is pretty big for someone who doesn’t take phenomenal photos, advertise, or buy followers.

You want to know how I did this?

  • I regularly post content relevant to the theme of my account (I aim for once a day, 4-5 days a week)
  • I follow people who post content that I enjoy
  • I search hashtags that I am interested in, that are relevant to the content I post (helloooo #flexfriday)
  • I like lots of pictures. That’s the thing though. I actually like them. I look at them. I like the pictures that I like, and I don’t like the follow4follow or pornographic garbage that people are using to spam my favorite hashtags.
  • I reply to as many comments on my own images as possible, and if a commenter regularly engages with me and they also post content that I enjoy, I follow them back


The moral of the story is, don’t be an online douchebag. You will see higher returns when you invest your time in building a genuine following than the $5 fiverr that got you 2,000 inactive followers.

And even if you can make money on black hat social media spamming, don’t.

Jesus is watching. Santa Clause is watching. I am watching.

The world is a much nicer place when you choose not to be a raging dickhead.


Do you have social media pet peeves?

What do you do to build a genuine audience?

Don't be a social media douchebag