New communication annoyances that are now part of our lives thanks to social media
Target audience: PR professionals, marketers, content creators, communicators.
Every year I write a post on my blog Spark Minute listing my least favorite communication annoyances. Amazingly, year after year, these articles have consistently been among my most successful articles.
Given their popularity, I decided to take this year’s list of annoyances, and the past three years of annoyances and compile them into an ebook of 58 annoyances you can download for free. Just register below to get your free copy (PDF, Apple iBook, and Kindle versions available).
For this post on Socialmedia.biz, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned from writing these articles, and how people have responded to them.
What I’ve learned from four years of being opinionated
Contrary opinions invite debate: If you want lots of comments on your blog, express an opinion contrary to the common belief. For example, I argue that wishing ‘Happy Birthday’ on Facebook is extraordinarily lazy since that’s all people do. They just type “Happy Birthday,” and nothing else. This controversial opinion has invited a lot of “I agree with a lot of what you have to say, but …” responses.
People love to have their annoyance validated: If you’ve been irritated by something, chances are you’re not alone. The mere act of publishing that annoyance allows you to find others who have experienced the same. They acknowledge it through their comments and sharing on social networks.
Annoying communications just don’t go away: One can’t just write about the irritating ways we communicate with each other and will them to go away. It just doesn’t happen unless you have complete control over the communications, such as Facebook did and the phenomenon of “Like”-gating. In my four years of complaining, it’s the only annoying communication that has truly disappeared. “Like”-gating is the process of putting up a roadblock to a Facebook page’s content that forces the user to “Like” the page if you want to see the page’s content. It’s an “effective” yet brand-damaging social media capturing technique. Luckily, “Like”-gating no longer exists, but there are other brand damaging social media capturing techniques that still exist. In the case of “Like”-gating, a single company, Facebook, was able to end the communication annoyance with a simple change in programming.
Except for “Like”-gating, all other annoyances have stuck around. My complaining may be entertaining, just not influential.
Comments offer fodder for future posts: My lists are far from exhaustive. That’s why I invite others to add their own annoyances. I will often mine comments from previous posts to write my posts for the following year. It’s important to look for those comments everywhere. Many won’t actually be in the comments of the post. In fact, for this year’s article, the overwhelming majority of them were on Facebook (450+ “Likes” on Facebook). Unfortunately, many of those comments were in threads I couldn’t see.
People like to publicly confess: It is inevitable that many of my readers will be guilty of many of these annoyances. Writing something like this can be dangerous as it might actually insult my readers. If it’s something I find annoying yet my reader does on a daily basis, I could get a “how dare he” and “I’m never reading his blog again” response. Surprisingly, the complete opposite happens. People are amused by the list and instead confess that they’re guilty of a few of the items. Some will say they won’t change, but others admit they’ll try harder not to do those things anymore.
Let me know: Am I full of it? Off base? Or do some of these habits annoy the heck out of you too?David Spark, a partner in Socialmedia.biz, helps businesses grow by developing thought leadership through storytelling and covering live events. Contact David by email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.