cool dog with a bad habitSocial Networking is beyond entrenched in our daily lives, both personal and professional. Chances are you got to this article today through some form of social network; the value is clearly established. But like any channel with that much power, comes much responsibility, and sometimes, we blow it. Here are five social networking habits that are sapping your productivity, annoying your colleagues and clients and frankly…making you look bad.

1) The Facebook Philosopher. You know the guy or gal I’m talking about. Someone who posts several motivational statements every day, keeping your feed filled with postcards about “Never giving up” and stating “If you never ask the question the answer is always no.” While the Facebook philosopher means well, two things can be derived by any social passerby when they see this behavior. One, the FB philosopher has way too much time on their hands and two, they are rarely contributing any useful or original thoughts. Stop doing this and if you must post motivational quotes, keep it to one a day.

2) The Twitter Firestarter. Healthy professional debate is nothing to be scoffed at, in fact, most believe that it pushes industry and standards forward. But attempting to do anything more than “chat” on Twitter is a fool’s game. Having any sort of debate on a media channel that only allows for 140 characters isn’t professional argument, it’s just starting fights that can’t be resolved unless you move to another medium. Flame wars on Twitter are usually started by those not equipped for true debate. If you’re spoiling for a fight, pick it elsewhere.

3) Social Sam or Susie. This person is everywhere, always hitting reply all on every email or FB message, liking every status, #followfriday-ing every single person they know in alphabetical order. Whether it’s automated, scheduled, in person or managed by a team, this is flat out annoying. Ever hear the phrase “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”? Next time you are tempted to engage for the third time in five minutes, remember you have a real job, so go do it.

4) Me too Maury. One of the key skills in social networking is listening. While answering your followers’ and friends’ questions and status updates is fun, remember that it’s not always required that you one-up someone in the comments. One of the things that makes social media such a great connecting place is the fact that we find similarities with one another that we never realized before and this is particularly important in business. But when you find yourself saying “Me too!” to everyone’s accomplishments and knowledge base, you’re being annoying, not social.

5) Automation Nation. In a professional situation, it makes sense to automate some of your social channels, sometimes. But when every post you send out appears on all social networks, from all the people in your company, all at the same time, you’re just doing it wrong. If you must schedule, stagger your posts so that your connections on multiple networks don’t get YOU fatigue.

So what do you think? What’s the most annoying social habit you’ve seen lately? Are you doing any of the above? Leave some ideas in the comments.

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