Social media is a must for individuals and businesses these days. You should, if you’re looking for work and trying to network, be on it.

That being said, if you’re not using it right, you’re going to do your reputation more harm than good.

Here are five social media practices you should never engage in, because they make people hate you. Even if you see other people doing these things, do not follow their lead. That way only lies irritated friends and followers. Trust me, I’m a doctor. (I’m not really a doctor.)

Sending auto DMs on Twitter.

Sample: “Thanks for following! Be sure to like me on Facebook, check me out on Pinterest and Instagram, and download my ebook here!”

STOP THIS. You’re not showing gratitude. You’re testing the goodwill of strangers by greeting them with shameless pluggery. I would unfollow every single person who does this but will admit that I can’t actually be bothered, though I do wish I could respond to every auto DM with an auto DM of my own that said “Thanks for your auto DM! Here is an auto DM response. Is this annoying? Now you know how everyone else feels when they get your stupid auto DM! Be sure to follow me on Instagram!” (Joke’s on them. I’m not even on Instagram.)

Even a simple “Thanks for following me!” auto DM is a bad idea. You’re just clogging people’s feeds with nothing of use. Cut it out. This also goes for auto tweets of the same nature.

Mentioning people for your own self serving purposes.

I’ve been getting Twitter mentions like “Top new followers!” a lot lately. I’ll follow someone and then they’ll tweet something like, “Top new followers this week! @Workopolis_HIRE @soandso @whatshernamemcgillicuddy @someotherdude.” And I’m left wondering how you measure your top followers, how I came out on top, and whether your other followers who didn’t make your top list should be offended.

Another example is “Best retweets!” also featuring a list of people who retweeted you, then a message reading “Thanks for the retweets!” (All these annoying moves usually feature an inordinate amount of exclamation marks). I know you didn’t even read the retweet, and that this was actually done through some automated social media managing tool. I know this because the only reason I retweeted you was because you tweeted one of my stories. I was actually retweeting myself.

Here’s the thing: when you mention me on Twitter, I get a notification, and I hate it when that notification turns out to be because you are using my name to fill up some space and call attention to yourself.

Following people on Twitter until they follow you back then unfollowing them to increase your followers to following ratio.

Seriously, this is so rude. There are people who have done this to me more than once and don’t even seem to realize that they’re following and unfollowing the same people over and over again. I’ll usually follow you back a couple of times before I catch on, then get wise. I guess if your goal is to have more followers than followees, it actually does work. It also works if your goal is to drive people nuts.

Only contacting people when trying to get something out of them.

You never interact with people, then suddenly you’re trying to promote your book/event/ daughter’s cookie drive, and suddenly you’re messaging, or mass messaging everyone, asking them to buy your book/attend your event/sponsor your daughter. I have removed many Facebook “friends” over this sort of behaviour. Social media is called “social” media because it is supposed to be “social.” It is not your little personal platform for selling things or asking favours.

Insulting people in a bid for moral or intellectual superiority.

This weird behaviour was never so prevalent as during the #thedress discussions. If you’re not familiar, catch up here. Millions of people online were enjoying talking about an interesting phenomenon while others decided to be outraged by the attention the viral meme was getting, and started posting angry status updates like “HOW CAN YOU BE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING AS INSIGNIFICANT AS A DRESS WHEN THERE ARE WARS??? WARS!!! YOU’RE ALL STUPID!”

Please. Like you only ever discuss important things. Also, the dress discussion was an extremely important one in my opinion, though I won’t go into the many reasons why here.

A good question to ask yourself is, would you walk to a group of people in a real life setting and start yelling that whatever they’re talking about is a stupid, idiotic waste of time – No, you wouldn’t – at least, I hope you wouldn’t – because you would look like an idiot.

You look the same on social media.

The rules on social media are the same as in real life, and the key word is “social.” First and foremost, you must interact with people – civilly. Then maybe you can try to sell them your stuff or ask for help (it’s never appropriate to start yelling that they’re stupid. If you don’t like the discussion, leave the room). Otherwise, you’re just having a one-sided conversation, and nobody will be listening.

Recent on Workpolis
The best time of the week to apply for a new job
Don’t know what you want to do with your life? You’re not alone

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+’://’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);

Follow Workopolis