Coming Clean: 10 Social Media Confessions

We all do things we’re not proud of. With social media, though, these dirty little secrets are often broadcast for the world to see. Whether you’re a fanatical retweeter, a manic sender of Facebook game invites, or a sneaky Instagram deleter, know that you’re not alone. The landscape is constantly changing and the experimental nature of social media means that we’re granted the space to test what works, and what doesn’t (we’re looking at you, Instagram Automation).

Not to fear, though—admitting that you have a problem is the first step on the road to a life free from shameful social. Take a look at some of the common social media confessions below and be sure to chime in with your own!

Confession #1: I “like” my own Instagram posts.

If you’re an avid Instagram user, you know there’s nothing more stressful than waiting for your photo to get to move past the stage where users’ handles are visible and that magical eleventh “like” is achieved. I’ve heard the phrase “It didn’t even get eleven likes!” more than I can count, and know many who admit to liking their own photo if it is awkwardly hovering at ten likes. Referred to as the “Instagram Rule of Eleven” by ClickZ, and with The Daily Dot declaring that “an Instagram post lives or dies by its eleventh like,” this number inherently reflects the credibility of a post and should definitely be considered important when using Instagram.

For some tips on reaching that eleventh like without having to sheepishly like your own Instagram post, see this post.

Confession #2: I retweet too much.

A retweet is a powerful thing. By reposting somebody else’s content, you are showing that the post resonates with you somehow, and this contributes to the image and brand you are portraying online. We get it, it definitely takes a strong person to not retweet every resonating article, meme, or opinion you think will either help inform your followers, or make you look smarter. However, if all you do is retweet, you’re not doing your best (we’re not mad, just disappointed). If you are rarely posting original content or thoughts, your feed is bound to look robotic and uninteresting, while lacking any sort of tangible personality. As explained here, engagement on Twitter is paramount, and requires you to evolve past those retweet sprees.

Confession #3: I use too many hashtags.

It can be tempting to use every semi-relevant hashtag under the sun when posting that glorious selfie or sunset shot, but quality over quantity is a good rule of thumb to remember here. While some have found that more hashtags equal more “likes,” this extra attention isn’t usually of any real value. The bottom-line is that abusing hashtags can make you look like you don’t understand the platform, or worse, desperate.

As we previously discussed in our “Do’s and Don’ts of How to Use Hashtags” post, some practices to avoid when hitting that pound sign include:

  • Don’t go too long or too clever

  • Don’t have more hashtags than words

  • Don’t hashtag everything

Confession #4: I delete or hide poor performing content.

So you didn’t make it to that eleventh “like” on Instagram, your brilliant Tweet was ignored, or your new Facebook profile picture didn’t get as many likes as your last one. Taylor Lorenz, head of social media for the Daily Mail, gets it. When speaking to The Daily Dot, Lorenz shared “In the spirit of honesty, I’ll tell you that I actually delete Instagrams that fail to meet the 11th-like threshold. There’s nothing worse than checking the likes on a photo and seeing eight to nine sad names listed out, probably all relatives or good friends giving a pity like.”

While understandable, take a moment to pause and wipe away your tears before you hit that delete button. Just like how deleting negative comments is a poor practice for companies to take part in on social media, deleting or hiding your lesser performing content can discount your authenticity and contribute to a kind of unrelatable facade, especially if your followers take notice. What’s more embarrassing–not getting a certain number of “likes,” or getting caught with your ego down deleting content that doesn’t do well?

Confession #5: I mercilessly tag and mention people in content.

This is something that I am definitely guilty of. So much so, that I’ve had Instagram place temporary restrictions on my account because it thinks I’m posting spam or abusive content in the comments section, when really I just want five of my closest friends to see this groundbreaking photo of a corgi puppy. I’ve definitely cooled it with comments tagging (mainly because Instagram has introduced the ability to directly send content through Direct Messages), but there is good reason to refrain from this practice whether you’re running a personal or professional account.

Not only is it annoying to constantly be receiving notifications for content that is not always relevant, but it clogs up the comments section and can bury relevant and valuable engagement for the poster. Something else to think about is that usually the accounts who are tagging multiple people in the comments section of Instagram posts are spam accounts trying to promote “getting free followers”—not necessarily a group of users you want to be associated with.

Confession #6: I will do and buy things solely for Instagram potential.

The phrase “I did it for the Insta!” has grown into a (semi) ironic part of our modern day vocabulary—so much so that you can buy the t-shirt here. It’s not at all uncommon these days for Instagram devotees to make meal, event, vacation, or outfit decisions based on the Insta-worthiness. Doing something deliberately in order to get a drool-worthy Instagram shot is of course not inherently bad, but it has the potential to get in the way of “real life” on occasion. Sharing moments is a wonderful thing, and can undoubtedly bring us great pleasure and joy, but forgetting to enjoy the moment itself is an often-lamented dilemma. If you find yourself experiencing Instagram-induced anxiety, scheduling your posts ahead of time could be a solution to not only freeing up some of your time, but allowing you the peace of mind to relax knowing that you have a post ready to go.

Confession #7: I never engage with other people’s content.

This is probably one of the worst ones from a social media strategy viewpoint. Hearing someone say that they consistently post on social media, but rarely look at or engage with anybody else’s content is unfortunate and doing themselves a disservice. Building a relationship with your audience and other relevant users will not only enhance your own social media experience, but inevitably grow your own following to include not only more users, but higher quality users. You know how much you love seeing a post of yours garner likes and comments, so why not pass that feeling along to other users and content you genuinely appreciate? For more on doing social media engagement right, see here.

Confession #8: I screenshot other people’s Snaps.

This is why we can’t have nice things. Since its introduction, the most notable feature of Snapchat has been the fact that messages self-destruct after a maximum of 10 seconds. However, many are now disregarding this unspoken rule and either blatantly screenshotting their contacts’ messages without care that the user is notified of this, or using secondary devices or apps to take a secret screenshot. Talk about shady social. Of course social media users should use discretion when sending any content, but Snapchat’s specialty was the certain degree of privacy that other platforms lacked. While it’s still not super simple to take a Snapchat screenshot discreetly, the workarounds are definitely something to keep in mind when sending a questionable Snap.

Confession #9: I share things without reading them.

With hundreds of articles, opinions, images, and general pieces of content entering our realm of consciousness every single day, it can be tempting to simply hit that retweet button when a clever-sounding title resonates. However, whether you like it or not, retweets and shares do reflect on your online presence. If you’re guilty of this though, you’re far from alone. As shown here, there is almost no correlation between retweet numbers and actual clicks, with the sample result showing that 16 percent of the tweets actually had less clicks than retweets–meaning they were shared before being read. With the number of highly legitimate-looking parody and joke accounts out there, as well as the use of misleading titles, it’s always a good idea to question what you are sharing. A common reason for reposting something in the first place is to make yourself look smarter, so make sure that the content you’re sharing isn’t doing the exact opposite.

Confession #10: I liked someone’s Instagram post from 42 weeks ago.

It happens innocently enough. You’re casually scrolling through a stranger or love interest’s Instagram feed when you find yourself looking at posts from more than a reasonable amount of time ago. The only thing that can pause Insta-stalking at this level is the heart-stopping moment when your finger slips and you accidentally “like” a photo from a previous era. Most of us have been there, and it’s not pretty.

While it’s tempting to immediately unlike the offending photo, you’ll never know if the other person received the notification and then, even worse, notice that you had since removed your “like.” There isn’t really much you can do at this point other than suck it up and accept your own creeper ways, but to prevent it in the future you can turn to a new app appropriately named Instasnoop. This app lets you “snoop for hours on end without the fear of dropping your phone on your face, and having your nose accidentally like an image upon impact,” allowing you to take your stalking tendencies to the next level.