Social Networking: What to NOT do to excel at it!

A recent read on twitter-etiquettes leads me to share my own pet peeves on behaviour I come across, in the hope that it reforms some attitudes. I find that as we’re forming digital communities, it’s only fair that we adopt the right etiquette in our interaction on them, as we do in our life otherwise, so here’s my 3-point list on what we could avoid on 3 popular social networking channels:


  1. Use the single sentence template offered by LinkedIn to invite people. Some individuals have amazed me by saying that they use the impersonal single sentence invite instead of personalising their request because they fear the latter would bother people! Unless people have no idea of objectives of professional networking or they completely mistrust their ability to write two personalised sentences, I’d like to know how it’d disturb anyone to know why this individual is interested in connecting? The sole purpose of forming connections on this professional forum can’t be as mindless as seeing one’s network get populated superficially, so I’d say it makes every sense to use the invite to highlight how directions are aligning hence a request for connection.
  2. Keep sketchy data on one’s profile. I realise that it can be time-consuming to complete one’s profile on LinkedIn—especially arranging recommendations for it. But please do not open a LinkedIn account just to put your name, a vaguely worded professional interest full of typing errors, and expect that people should know you enough from it to accept your invite. At least desist from sending invites to people till you fill your school/college education, work history and a few lines as your profile summary. It can remain work-in-progress after that but would still convey some basic background data on you for broadening your network.
  3. Missing photo. I don’t plan to judge my professional connections on the basis of their looks nor do I want to be judged on mine, but I consider it plain bad manners for people to leave a gaping hole in place of their profile photo and reach out to all and sundry to make connections. The LinkedIn profile is like an identity document on an individual and built in to support the virtual handshake one is attempting with several people so please ‘paste’ your photo on this ID.


  1. Tweet and RT (retweet) quotes on a regular basis. While one or two inspiring quotes can have an uplifting effect on one’s thought process, I come across individuals tweeting them as if their life depends on that exercise! Don’t they realise that the Net is bursting at its seams with resources of that kind and they’re just irking their followers with those tweets?
  2. Tweet Jokes. Same sentiment applies as above. Please use the tool to connect with people but why fill their timeline with untimely humour repeatedly? If you do not have an original view to share, please wait till you do for reading of myriad viewpoints and blog posts is sure to bring in thoughts of your own to tweet. In any case, responding to tweeted questions is a great way to add value to interaction on Twitter and do that till you get fresh ideas of your own.
  3. Tweet your meal and bodily routines. This one really gets me to unfollow individuals, and makes for a reason for my low ‘following’ number! Really, who’s interested to see a crowded timeline with tweets on when one is sleeping or having lunch…unless one is broadcasting a great eating place or food item. When you’re awake, inform your followers of your wakeful state by tweeting coherent and helpful bits of information, and that would help everyone’s cause.


  1. Friends writing on a friend’s wall instead of sending a private message. To educate friends on using the two mediums sensibly has not been easy for me. Most just feel inclined to fill the visible empty box of Wall than seek out the option of ‘send a message to friend’.
  2. Friends sending invites to frivolous applications. I can appreciate a friend’s need to reinforce common characteristics but new users of Facebook get too enthusiastic about all the colourful applications they come across and not only get stuck with them, they also get other friends trapped into them. Please exercise self-control when you’re prompted to send an invite to the last quiz you attempted.
  3. Individuals putting their family photos as their profile photo. Why do people do that? To ward off unsolicited advances? Why don’t they just mention their relationship status appropriately to send the right message? I can’t think of another reason for putting the whole family or a couple’s photo as one’s own. Everyone has a unique face and should be represented through his/her own here too.

I can think of a couple more things but I promised to stick to a 3-point list so over to you to share yours on making social networking a pleasant experience 🙂

10 thoughts on “Social Networking: What to NOT do to excel at it!

  1. jyoti:

    re: linkedin and fb (i do not have much experience with twitter), i agree for the most part on what you wrote, however …

    linkedin is similar (not identical) to a resume, and so i disagree with the photo in the linkedin profile, unless of course you expect a photo on the resume as well! 🙂

    since i am guilty of #3 under facebook as well, i need to respond to that as well. i just thought that the photo i put up was a pretty good summary of recent festivities. besides, hopefully all my fb friends (if – definitely – not all my blog pals) know how i look like anyway.

    let me tell you something else! i had a “real” (in quotes just to highlight, not to say that the photo was a fake!) photo of mine on fb for the last few months. recently, i met an old friend and his family (for the first time), and his wife told me that i look nowhere like my fb profile photo. i still don’t know whether to take that as a compliment or not (probably the latter), but then how can someone look as fresh throughout the day as one looks when one goes and sits in front of the webcam (or camera) for a photo? and if that is the case, what use is the profile photo, if does not do you justice (or does more than justice!!)?

    – s.b.


  2. Dear somebody…I’m glad you decided to share your view unlike many folks on LinkedIn whom I directed here but didn’t get their feedback 🙂

    Your point about Facebook that your friends know you by face so don’t need your photo doesn’t apply for LinkedIn where one is connecting with virtual strangers. A photo in the online world is what a real self is in the offline world – do we hide our face while shaking hands with people? Then, it’s only polite to put the photo against the profile description when going to interact with other professionals on LinkedIn. A CV doesn’t have to conform to a format so doesn’t require one’s photo unless an advert requests it. In case of LinkedIn the format requests it by making place for it then why leave the profile format incomplete and go about making introductions?

    On Facebook too, the current friends in your network have begun to know you from that symbolic pic, but what about those you’re going to send connection requests to? The comment from your friend’s wife may have meant to be a conversation starter, why worry about what others say about your facial structure? We’re born with it without having a role to play in its making and just have to live with it. May as well like it while living with it and show it to others too 🙂

    Here’s hoping that we’re now on the same page. At least in case of LinkedIn which matters to me more from view of a best practice.


  3. Hi Jyoti,

    Thanks for sending me to this page – its a great read!

    I know I am guilty of the first point on LinkedIn. If I am inviting a person with whom I haven’t interacted for a long time, I usually write something that would remind him / her of who I am. But if I am inviting someone who I think would know me by name, I don’t change the default message.

    Since we had interacted on the forum a couple of times recently, I didn’t change the message…

    But I do agree with you – I believe I would be changing the default message every time going forward – thanks!


  4. Hi Raag,

    You’re the only KV connection who’s got here from LinkedIn and spoken up –being a blogger yourself, you realise the need to leave your feedback, which is great!

    On your profile, it isn’t just the first point, you’ve erred on the 3rd point as well–the missing photo 😉

    best, Jyoti


  5. Hi Jyoti!

    I really liked your blog! Thanks for sending me the invite.

    I completely agree with you on all the points and think its so very important that all of us reflect and insist on these, atleast some of these. Sometimes mediums lose their charm because of the menace that NOT so right etiquette may cause. Considering the pain that spam emails and SMSs caused and continue to do so, and the effort now invested to curb these, it is certainly something pertinent that you have reflected on.

    Congratulations for the initiative! I would like to stay posted.


  6. Hi sb,

    Have you come across more such viewpoints? I agree with it only to the extent of being wary of putting family photos — someone some place particularly warned against posting photos of kids in their bath. Beyond that it’s creating paranoia. I also think that the cons of social networking must be weighed against its pros as they far outweigh the reasons for mistrusting the medium. And, if we’re using these spaces, we must show our right identity.


  7. Hi Gita, good to have your feedback. I agree that the use of these great tools brings with it the added chore of screening unwanted material, making it necessary for us to continually update our knowledge to be one up on such irritants. I’m so thrilled to see the ease in professional collaboration and personal communication that technology has brought to us in the last 15 years that I’m willing to learn extra to derive more out of it.


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