Inspired by this blog post by Ryan Holiday giving one sound advice (a list of 30 pieces of advice actually) on how to cut the cr*p out of your and everyone else’s life, I’ve created a list of ten things you need to immediately stop doing online (forget ‘liking your own posts’ and ‘auto-posting from Twitter or Instagram to Facebook’ — I hope you moved on from this a decade ago). Disclaimer: don’t read it if you are easily offended.
- Using made-up titles in your online bio
‘Jake of All Trades’, ‘Ninja’, ‘Wizard’, ‘Magician’, ‘Warrior’, ‘Badass’, ‘Rockstar’, ‘Thinker’, and ‘Sensei’ (not to mention Expert, Guru and Evangelist) sound better then an ‘unpaid intern’ but they got too old too quickly. (Hint: ‘Ninja’ titles started emerging on LinkedIn in 2002 so you are 14 years too late to the party). Save everyone’s time and include your job title (if you really need to).
2. Calling yourself a Visionary
A visionary is ‘a person with original ideas about what the future will or could be like’. No doubt, you might be thinking about the future a lot — from what to cook for dinner to how to achieve the ROI your company’s management will find satisfying. But unless you are Stephen Hawking, Ray Kurzweil, or Tim O’Reilly, you should stop calling yourself that. These guys do not call themselves Visionaries either, by the way.
3. Defining yourself online as a Husband, Wife, or Mother of X
While having a flourishing family life might be a big part of who you are and something you are very proud of, no one else really cares. Since the ‘institution of marriage’ has undergone massive changes over the past decades, it doesn’t serve as a ‘public certificate’ verifying that you are a decent person. Husbands cheat on their wives (and vice versa), having kids doesn’t mean you are a happy dedicated parent and so on. So unless fatherhood, parenthood, or family relationships is your primary area of expertise, please keep these details to yourself.
(When in doubt, apply ‘So what?’ or ‘Why would I care?’ test. Does your ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ title make a difference for your audience? If not — remove it.)
4. Calling yourself a social media (or any other) influencer
Same as with the visionary — you can’t label yourself one. So don’t! It’s not you who decides on that. It’s not a title but the strength of an impact your job (or other actions) make on the minds, actions and lives of other people. Let other people decide whether you make a difference in their lives.
5. Adding random people on LinkedIn. And Facebook
What are you really trying to achieve by adding people you don’t know on LinkedIn? Get LinkedIn Premium and send direct messages to selected people with a particular ‘ask’, question or suggestion. Please don’t add people you don’t know on LinkedIn without any background, real life connection or any further plans to speak.
As for Facebook, there is a ‘Follow’ button on Facebook letting you see public updates of the people who enabled following feature and whom you are not friends with in the real life.
6. Using the word Millennial
Presuming you use it in a conversation about marketing to the ‘20-somethings’ or complaining about ‘the lazy new generation’, please don’t. ‘Millennials’ are not one single ‘category’ of your audience that you can ‘target’ by excluding Facebook from your marketing mix and posting on Snapchat instead. Also, when you say ‘millennials’ everyone immediately knows how old you are.
7. Using abbreviations
IRL, TBH, JK, bae— using these doesn’t make you cooler, especially because you are most likely using them wrong. Oh, and never-ever-ever say ‘Netflix and Chill’. Ever.
8. Complaining or taking your rage out on every matter
Why? Because no one cares. If you had a bad experience with a brand and want to address it — get in touch with the company (many brands respond to customer service inquiries on social media) and they will help you. Feeling lonely and need someone to talk to? Call your husband, wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, friend or emotional support hotline. Otherwise: no one’s listening and no one cares about the long line at the post office, delayed flight or your salad that was not crunchy enough.
9. Getting easily offended online
A true free speech platform, Internet is also a perfect place for haters and trolls and you are likely to find a lot of content offensive, whether you are looking for it or not. So please — don’t get offended. Get a life, get outdoors, walk your dog or go for a run instead.
10. Commenting on online articles.
First, no one wins in an online argument. Second, no one has time, listens or cares.