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Mistakes We Make Online


by Yvonne DiVita

Just a few pet peeves – see if any of them resonate with you, too.

1. You set up a twitter account and … lock it. How am I supposed to follow you back if you lock up your account? Hey, it's called "social" media for a reason. Be social. Unlock your twitter account.

2. You create a fantastic video (which you would like to see go viral) that I want to share everywhere  - and you lock that up, too. No sharing! Only the linkis available! Viral won't happen if you don't allow me to embed the video so my readers can see it on MY blog. You'll still get credit. By allowing me to embed it, we both win. 

3. You talk baby talk on your blog and I don't have a clue what you're saying. Sure, it's fun and we all do it with our pets. But, when you write it on your blog and I have to struggle to figure out what you're saying… you lose me not only for that post, but any further posts. I'm not coming back because I don't speak babytalk. Dode you unnertan all dat cizenyousedont distoobad, ise gotsa do it dis way … ????

4. Your blog post is great – informative and educational, but… you forget both pictures and links. The web is a visual medium – share pictures (please make sure they are not copyrighted – and everything on the web is copyrighted so check before using any content online). The web also depends on connections so put some relevant links in your posts. Show me you did your research or why you have that opinion.

5. You have an automated DM response on your Twitter account that directs me to your Facebook page. First of all, I probably don't know you that well so…let me watch some tweets before you invite me to your Facebook page. Second, a LOT of Twitter spam is shared via DMs that have been highjacked. I don't click links in ANY DM, even if I know you. If you need to tell me something in more than 140 characters, email me. My email is on this site in the About section.

6. You discover a blog post that is so amazing and fantastic, you just have to share it with all of your blog readers and Twitter followers so you copy it – word for word – and post it on your site. You think that because you link back to the original post, it's okay. That's citing your source, right? Wrong. That's stealing. Fair use allows you to cite a small portion of the post, along with your comments or thoughts, and a link back to the entire post. 

7. You have a GREAT idea… You're working with a GREAT org… and you know every other pet person will want to share and support what you're doing so  you write to them and say, "Hey, look what I'm doing! I'd love it if you'd share it with all your friends!" <pause for huge sigh> I bet you would like me and everyone else you emailed to 'share' … but, why should we? We get dozens of these kinds of emails every week. If we 'shared' all of them, we'd never do anything else. Here's a hint – ask me if I can share; ask me if I know who else might be willing to share; ask me what I think. Then, I might share. Tom-blogpaws-west

8. You meet me at a networking event, we connect, we exchange business cards and… you immediately add me to your mailing list. That's not "so bad" as I usually expect people to add me to their newsletter list after we've exchanged cards. But, when they discover I have 6 email addresses and add ALL of them to their list, I get a bit perturbed. Now I'm receiving six copies of everything they circulate. Guess what? I'm unsubscribing from all. Be polite. Ask if you can send me stuff and ask which email address you should use.

9. You send me a note requesting something – answer to a question, response on a project, whatever. I do not reply. You tell everyone how unresponsive I am and how you wrote to me and never heard back. Here's the skinny on that – I (and lots of other people) get hundreds of emails every day. Even when we 'save' specific ones to reply to, they may get lost in the shuffle when Microsoft does an update, or the system freezes and requires a reboot. If I don't respond, email me again. That second email will likely nudge me to action.

10. You write to me and say, "I love your blog. I'd love to write for you. I write articles about taxes, about weather, about plants, about babies…etc. and could easily write for you!" Ok. That's nice. You want to guest blog for me. My blog is about pets. How is taxes, weather, plants, or babies relevant? And, do you expect me to reply? Seriously? Don't hold your breath. Obviously, you do not know anything about my blog and I am not going to invite you to guest post on it.

Thanks for reading! 

What mistakes do you see people making online? Share them with us.

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  1. O.K. I am bracing for the backlash, but I have to vent. My blog and many that I follow have recipe pages. Why, oh why, do some people feel the need to post a picture of every tiny step in the food preparation? I don’t need to see your hand pouring the salt from the teaspoon. I GOT IT! Extra shots of the salt from different perspectives really sends my blood pressure into the ozone layer. I know food and photography go hand in hand. Everything we eat at my house is cold because the dish spends it’s first half hour in front of my camera. I understand step-by-step recipe posts, but come on folks, some of us live out in the country with satellite internet. We are light years away from the fast internet connections many of you enjoy. Some posts with thirty or forty pictures won’t even load. Less is more my friends, at least until someone brings DSL out here!

  2. @Rebecca, thank you for understanding #9. I often feel guilty when I get up in the a.m. and all my “plan to answer tomorrow” emails are back in que b/c Microsoft did an update overnight… back in que means… gone because I just don’t remember all of them.
    @Mary and Aimee – sounds like some people (not you two) need to learn how to optimize images. And, how to include images appropriately. I must agree that many of us (myself included, sad to say) forget that some of our friends do not have high-speed cable connections! Thanks for the reminder! And, for noting that pictures have their place.

  3. Terrific post, and we agree w/#9 also. Often we see an email in the AM (5:30 ish) and intend to respond later, but forget. Life happens. A follow up before a complaint is greatly appreciated.

  4. I agree with #3! I thought I was the only one that bothered. A smattering of baby talk here is acceptable but if the whole thing is written in baby talk gibberish so that I labor to read it, I am not coming back.
    I am relatively new to the blog world so I don’t have much to contribute to your conversation but one thing that does bug me is if I have to penetrate a fortress to leave a comment I will not come back to your site…even if I really like your content.

  5. Right on. This is going to sound harsh, but truth is most people are lazy and inconsiderate. Most people have never created a unique piece of content themselves, therefore they don’t understand copyright issues (#6). Everyone thinks they “deserve” to be linked to and deserve to have your undivided attention. You have to earn it!
    Being new to blogging…I’ll be sure NOT to make these mistakes. Thanks for the advice!

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