How not to behave on social media: A run-down of our biggest pet peeves. Quit being annoying already!

This is a post by Pavarti K. Tyler

I've been greatly annoyed lately by social media. Sometimes it feels like more of a burden than an opportunity, and I've been struggling to figure out why. What is it that makes me so insane sometimes when I log into Twitter/Facebook/Ning/Blogs? So much so that part of me considers just shutting it all down and running for the hills? That's right; I'm going to become one of the hill people. Appalachia isn't that far. I could totally do it.

Except I can't cook.

Well, I guess I'm stuck here in modern society where I can buy pre-made packaged food and order Chinese from the delivery place around the corner.

If I can't run away, I'm going to at least try and point out how we can make being online a little more fun and a little friendlier.


  • Turn off your auto-responder: I do not want to like your Facebook page, read your recent blog post, or ask you about the amazing new vitamins you're taking/selling. Stop it! If you want to talk to me, email or DM me. I'd love that, but seriously, the automatic contact is just spam.
  • Turn off True-Twit Validation or whatever service you are using: Unfortunately, the reality is that there is spam out there. Some might leak through, but making me jump through extra steps for the pleasure of knowing you drives me crazy. Chances are I'm not going to do it, and you just lost a new friend/follower.
  • Hastags are great – however a #post #written where every #word is #hashtagged is just #annoying. Stop it.
  • @mentions are the best way to stay in touch and make sure the person you are trying to communicate with reads the message. However, be judicious and only mention people to whom the post is relevant.
  • When someone does something nice for you, say thank you.



  • Groups and Communities. For the LOVE OF PETE do NOT post the same promotional post to every group you belong to. Especially if one group is a subset of another (Dog Lovers broke off into Mixed Breed Lovers broke off into 6 people who have Doberdoodles). If you post to all three, I'm not following your link.
  • Accept what's given. Have a question? Ask away! But remember you asked for input, so you can't argue about what people offer. If you don't want people's input, don't ask. When people comment and you disagree a simple thank you is sufficient. If you want to discuss it further, take it off the main page and into private messaging.
  • Reply to comments when you post. Not necessarily to everyone (although I try), but definitely make sure to engage people who bothered to comment. You enjoyed getting that note, so reciprocate. This is especially true in communities.
  • Page vs. Profile – This is a tricky one, and I can't say I completely understand it. I'm sure Emlyn will have insight to offer, but for me a Page is a tool for promotion and announcements. People sign up for it knowing it's a fan/business site. Profiles on the other hand, are personal. This is where people interact and discuss. Sure, you're excited about your book launch and you want to post about it–that's great! But your Aunt Betty doesn't really want to read every guest blog you post about vampires.
  • Addition from Melissa: Don't be a vulture. If someone is posting about something relevant to their life or accomplishments, it's tacky and borderline vicious to post some self-promotional item. I see this happen ALL THE TIME. I post a link to an interview I did thanking a blogger for the great questions and other authors jump on it with BUY MY BOOK type posts. This happens a lot on the Novel Publicity FB page too–almost every post that goes up gets a comment from an author wanting people to like his page or buy his book. Show some tact people!
  • When someone does something nice for you, say thank you.


Linked In

  • As far as I can tell, no one is there and it's useless – feel free to be as obnoxious as you want 🙂
  • Note from Melissa: LinkedIn can be useful, but it takes work and more engagement than other social media sites. I will blog my LinkedIn tips some day. Spoiler: The key is to getting involved in groups, not just posting and dashing.



  • G+ is still new, and I haven't developed many pet peeves. I've only gotten one game request; most of the content over there is really good. My only complaint is that one follower I have seems to tag me personally in every post he makes. so I get individual notifications from him. He posts about twice a day. This is driving me insane. It's too bad, because he had some good posts, but I had to remove him from my circles. As with everything, be considerate about volume/spam.
  • When someone does something nice for you, say thank you.



  • This is your world. A blog is a safe haven for many authors where you can write what you want and do what you want. Go for it, spread your wings, stretch your voice, and have fun!
  • If you ever want people to follow you, have to tell them how! A subscribe button, social media links, an email address, something!
  • Do you love comments? Maybe you even have a little thing above your comment box about how much you love comments (I’m seeing this more and more; please stop begging). If you like getting comments, respond to them! It makes for some interesting conversations and is so much more rewarding for your readers.
  • When someone does something nice for you, say thank you.



To be honest, Ning is my least favorite forum. Something about these sites seems to breed crazy people. I have never seen this kind of pettiness and immature bickering anywhere else. To be fair, this impression isn’t based on only author sites but some others as well. There’s a chance I’m a bit bitter. However, there are still some things you can do to help make Ning a fun and effective social media tool.

  • Groups are great – they allow you to set up discussions and leave comments. Sometimes they even allow you to send a message to the entire group. Please remember that these group-wide messages are NOT for the average announcement. Don’t send out every event or blog post this way; use the comments and groups available. Those emails are just spam.
  • Ning Friends is really cool. It’s fun to connect and be able to communicate with people directly. You can send private messages to one person or a group of them. However, again, do not use this to send a message to all of your friends! This is spam. If you aren’t willing to go to your email account and choose “all contacts” why would you do it here? There’s no need to blast every update and if you do, you’re more likely to lose contacts than get people to follow your links.
  • Consider the difference between a forum discussion (like a blog post or focused conversation thread) and a group (a place for multiple conversations at once under separate “discussion” pages) before creating a new one.
  • When someone does something nice for you, say thank you.

Perhaps you noticed two big themes here:

  • Stop the Spam!
  • When someone does something nice for you, say thank you.

Despite all my other notes, these two are really all it comes down to. Be a human being, interact, don’t spam, and remember to be gracious. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ go a really long way online and in life.


Pavarti K Tyler, Marketing Department DirectorAbout this post’s author:

Pavarti is a member of the Novel Publicity Team as a PR Campaign Manager. She also provides content editing as a consultant or for her Novel Pub clients. Her unique experience as a dramaturge, both on and off Broadway, has provided her the opportunity to work closely with many playwrights and directors, allowing Pavarti to consider both the literary and audience perspective. Pavarti K Tyler’s novel Two Moons of Sera is a Fantasy/Romance and is being released in a serial format. Her next novel Shadow on the Wall is scheduled for release in early 2012. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.



Thumps up for this post!

Pavarti K Tyler

Thanks! 🙂

Callie Kingston

Thank you for posting this important tips. Very good reminders, especially since authors know they need to promote their books, but should find a way to do it without being like those friends who talk nonstop about themselves. Boorish.

Callie Kingston

Sue Mydliak

Kudos! I couldn’t agree with you more.

Sue Mydliak

Kudos! I couldn’t agree with you more!

Anna Drake

Thank you!

Terri Giuliano Long

Great tips, Pavarti! Thank you! 🙂

As for thanking people – I agree with you! It’s important, gracious – good manners! – to thank people who do something nice for you, but I’ve also been flamed for it, accused of pandering. Some people see it that way, unfortunately. I’ve been told quite a few times that it’s unnecessary. Or maybe I just thank people too often. For the most part, I’ve stopped saying thanks for MM,TT,WW,FF mentions, unless they’re directed to me. I feel guilty, though. My upbringing, I guess.


    I get what you’re saying Teri and you definitely have to watch over doing it – est on Twitter. I don’t thank for the average RT or #WW type mention but when someone actually mentions me or goes above the quick and easy autofollow type thing i try to. I think it’s good manners to do it. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a blog for a guest post or review that i didn’t send a thank you for. Its surprising how many people don’t do the basics of common courtesy though! I’d rather over do it than not do it at all. 🙂

A Tale of Many Reviews

Too funny! I love the LinkedIn part! I choked on my hot tea with an instant giggle. 😉 I agree with all your pet peeves.

    Pavarti K Tyler

    Hehe, yeah LinkedIn has done nothing for me, I have enough to do elsewhere. Emlyn has had success with the groups, but I’d rather play on Twitter 🙂

Haley Whitehall

Thanks for the tips! I hope people read and follow them. I’m on Twitter the most. The auto-responder and true twit validation are the most annoying for me.

You wrote to thank people when they do something nice for you. It is always nice to have good manners but my Twitter stream is clogged with people thanking each other for every mention and RT. To not irritate your follows, I suggest being judicious with the thanks.

Have you checked into the new social media platform Triberr? It is a community for bloggers. I’m trying to figure it out.

Christine DeMaio-Rice

Double thumbs up.
I am worn to the bone with fellow authors promoting to me. And these are people I LIKE.

Constance Wallace

Whew, glad to see I’m not the only one out there that feels this way. 🙂

Dane Zeller

Great post! Wanna buy my book?

    Pavarti K Tyler

    Haha! Dane – you win! 10 points for you!

Hope Welsh

It is hard to find a happy medium on Twitter. I’ve found it’s a good way to promote.

I’ve gotten most of my followers via hash tags, so I use them.

Totally agree on the verification steps–(I refuse to do them)

I’m useless o facebook–it confused me so I do very little there.

All in all, it’s very hard for new authors to find readers without doing some self-promotion on Twitter and elsewhere. I’d suggest Twitter users turn off “repeat” messages. This way, they aren’t inundated with authors tweeting their book multiple times a day.

Thanks for the blog 🙂


    Thanks for commenting. And yes, if people do one thing, turn off all auto messages!

Patricia Obermeier Neuman

Great stuff — especially for newbies to the social media world, as we are. Will be re-reading! Thank you.

George Angus

For Twitter I would add: It’s social media, not a bulletin board. Engage and interact. Do not just bark, “Buy my book!”

Facebook: Please don’t broadcast farmville or other game requests unless you are CERTAIN folks play that stuff.

LinkedIn: Ditto what you said.

Cool stuff here, thanks for posting.


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