21 Warning Signs You’re Becoming a Social Media Snob

21 Warning Signs You’re Becoming a Social Media Snob

Reader Comments (96)

  1. This came at a really good time because I JUST emailed you about getting a Tweet from you! Ha ha. How uncanny.

    Anyway, I don’t really care about that. What I do care about is that you included the words “helping” and “people” there. That made me all #warminside

    Wish there were more like you Jon.


  2. I help people who work in music, film and television production. I’m a snob when it comes to 99% of what is sold in my niche because it’s aimed at beginners, the aspirational market.

    I want to help people who are already in the business. People who already “get it” and are looking for something more advanced.

    But you’re right Jon. I’m lacking empathy. And that’s hurting my ability to become an authority in my space.

  3. Hi Jon,

    3 words: open your heart.

    When you help, you make it impossible to become a snob. Promote others aggressively, engage, repeat, repeat, repeat. Laugh. Smile. Enjoy the process of building your business on social media.

    I used to be too damn serious then I had a series of mini-meltdowns. OK, big ass meltdowns. Then I did stuff like meditate for an hour a day, pull back from the laptop 4 or 5 times a day, and an awesome thing happened. I enjoy the hell out of my social media experience, AND I made more money, working a lot less. Cool, how it all happens, when you lighten up and stop taking yourself so seriously.

    Really good stuff here Jon, a powerful reminder for a few, to crumble a bit of those ego walls and lighten up.

    Thanks for sharing!


    • I like that Ryan.. Open your heart. That’ll definitely help us loosen up a bit.

      It’s been so long bro.. Hope everything going great for you.

  4. Amazingly, I’m not guilty of any of those. It’s probably because I’m not that into social media. I post and share a lot, but I don’t mind about scoring and such. I value engagement. When people reply to my posts, my heart jumps for joy and I reply to every one of them. When they don’t share or reply to my posts and rants, I don’t mind.

    Maybe I’m behind the times. Maybe I’m missing out on a huge marketing opportunity. I still look at social media as an easy way to talk to a massive amount of people, and that’s it.

    Anyway, nice post, Jon. It was a really good read.

  5. It’s about quality and being human,in Social Media or any another industry…or just simple, in our own life .
    No any money can make that feeeling of #warmisinde as Blog Tyrant said, as feeling you did helped someone.
    I work as nurse and feeling of doing my work truly good, is nothign to compare to their smile and look in eyes of patiences ,when I help them, with some things like listening , understanding and being just nice to them 🙂

  6. Hmmm I don’t think I’m guilty of any of these, but that’s maybe because I’m not big enough yet to be. Maybe guilty of #17 if you replace the word money by time.

    • I am with you Jon. As a beginner in the social media space I sometimes feel like I have gone “down the rabbit hole” like Alice in Wonderland. There is so much content that finding meaning and worth in social media has become very challenging for me as a learner. Your post is refreshing and valuable in the respect that keeping empathy and understanding and clarity as pillars to good writing I may learn to be of value to others as well as myself. Thanks for helping to direct a perspective based on caring and reality!

  7. Brilliant article, Jonathan, and a good reminder for us all. “The antidote to snobbery is empathy.” Exactly! Not pity masked as empathy, but an all-out putting oneself in another’s shoes as a means to truly understand.

    Thank you,

  8. love this one!! I’m not quite a snob yet…but can see myself going in that direction. Really good call outs (and advice) and what to look out for and how to handle it. Great stuff!

  9. Great comments and thoughts.

    I’m still trying to learn it all and stay on top of the newest changes being made to the various social sites. I agree whole heartedly you have to help people first by helping others you can understand what problems your clients/customers may have. This helps you in the end because you’ll have a clearer understanding of what to write about and what questions to answer.

  10. I’m with ya! I’ve had a unique experience over the last 3 months. After our Social Media Marketer left the company, I was thrown into his role. I had some trepidation because, to be frank, I had lost interest in maintaining my personal social media. I even considered shutting down my FB page. Coming from a psychology background and a shrink for a dad who deals with dysfunctional adolescents and families all day, I found myself worrying about social media’s potential negative impact on interpersonal communication and relationships. I found myself becoming a snob for the other side.
    So here I am, in a position where the large ecommerce company i work for, that serves a highly artistic field, is struggling a bit to understand why my presecessor even needed a replacement (and a full-time one at that). But I was up for the possibility of becoming a convert.
    It’s been 3 energizing months, packed with lots of brain time spent thinking about the next day’s posts, across our various outlets (yep, I’m now a sinner of that one). “Will this make our customers giggle? Will it inspire them? If so, what will that inspire them to do for us? For their fellow posters? Will this get the reaction we want? Heck, what reaction DO we want? Am I being genuine? Am I to brand? Dear Lord, will they like me?”. The ride has challenged me (because I had other roles to fill at work, but suddenly I couldn’t pull myself away from this lively experimentation), it has turned my nose just a tad upward (and I didn’t care, because pride in what you care about and do and the passion that flows from that pride is a good thing), it has more intimately introduced me to our customers than anything has in the 12 years I’be been here, and finally, selfishly, it has made me a better writer. I finally had a 24/7 opportunity to do the most crucial, job-securing act all marketing writers must do: listen. (I take that back: hear). What did i learn? Most of our customers are quite funny. I would love to share a beer with them. All of them are talented artists, but only about a tenth of them think so. Our customers love the idea that they are becoming part of a community on our website….it’s their art commune. Finally, most of our customers really do like us, now we just get to hear WHY, along with everyone else. The result of my new hearing? I’ve been reinspired to be a better writer and marketer. Why? Because i find myself thinking about the customer’s more immediate reaction, which as we know is emotion, not behavior. No carts before horses, please. I want that emoticon, in person. Because THEN they will start behaving they way we need the to. When my friends make me laugh from the belly, I want to be with them even more. When they inspire me, I want to challenge myself more. So, I’m bringing some humor back to my writing, and not just because it happens to fit our brand, but because we’ve left it behind us a bit, and because our customers like it. Second, I find myself wanting to inspire them more with posts, and when they post their work (which they seem to be doing much more), i encourage their work and the other posters follow. They are now talking to and encouraging each other…a dialogue that’s just as important as the one between our company and them)…that art commune is growing. And finally, in hearing WHY they like us, in real time, we can guide our way through more ways to increase that like to LOVE. And what do you do when you love someone? You scream it from the rooftops! Ah, the behavior we want.
    So, have I been converted? Yep. Have I even been reinspired to interact a bit more on my personal social media outlets? Somewhat….I’d still rather share a beer face-to-face with my friends.
    Just yesterday, we hired a new full-time Social Media Marketer. Time for me to focus on my other roles that have felt neglected. I thought I would be relieved to return to some calm, but I find myself feeling a bit sentimental about he departure. Damn, these guys really converted me! But I take my snobbery and everything I learned with me, to be a better writer, for the customer, for them to be a better customer, for us, and the circle of marketing continues. I will still hear these guys as I write, thank them for the dialogue, and now, maybe I’ll join them from my personal account on our Wall.

  11. The first step to being guilty of this post is reading it and feeling insulted, or disagreeing to the fullest. There I said it.

    Thanks for this Jon — finally.

  12. I’m guilty of a few of these myself.. But you’re right, these are opportunities to get better at helping people.

    Let’s not forget what we’re here to do. Helping people is the name of the game and I’m here to win.

  13. Cripes, Jon, so much good stuff packed in this post. “Us versus them” thinking IS natural for evolution of the species. Also dangerous for the reasons you said.

    Here’s what struck me… the same problem plagues small business owners with regard to marketing and selling their stuff. I’ve worked with small business owners for 20+ years and what I see (daily) is that they know their industry so well they become the snobs, and can’t see the perspective of their customers.

    OMG, the stories I could tell you. But when they take steps to see through the customer’s eyes? Wow. I should be writing about that more… thanks for the inspiration.

    My score: 1. lol.

    • Yeah, this definitely affects small business owners. Authors too. And especially professors.

  14. Well, I don’t mean to brag, but I didn’t qualify for any of the list-items. *whew* It’s probably because I haven’t had time yet to become a snob and *hopefully* am not usually snobbish by nature.

    This was a very interesting post, Jon, and I appreciate it. I will remember not to get into bad ways of thinking in the first place. Helping people is all I want to do with my business, and most people don’t care to deal with a snobbish person. It does not make them feel safe. I’m hoping I can retain the connection with my readers and never get too tired of answering the obvious. 🙂


  15. Far, far worse than snobs are the social media climbers as I’ll call them. Meet over twitter, meet IRL, then get dropped for more influential “friends” and then the pattern gets repeated and repeated. One minute they refer to you as “friend”, the next the aren’t even acknowledging you. Social media climbers.. grr.

    • Wow… people actually do that ? Sort of defeats the whole purpose – you know, the part about the Internet leveling the playing field, allowing people to meet and exchange ideas without a club house or Ivy league connections, etc… They’re totally clueless.

  16. Thank you for the wake up call ! That was a very interesting post. #4 hit hard, in particular – with a side of #19. I appreciate your work and look forward to hearing more from you.

  17. I’ve had similar experiences to Shelby. But I didn’t go ‘all-out’ with Facbook in the beginning; I still have a lot to learn about its benefits, and still keep a low profile there today. But I know it’s addictive – and can take over your life if you’re not careful. But I agree with the comment in Jonathan’s article that we need to respect our followers/readers, provide good, sound advice about things we know about, and provide a beneficial interaction. That’s what good writing’s all about: providing a benefit to our readers, and that’s something we always try to advocate in the articles on our ‘Write2Profit’ Writer’s Website. Regarding Facebook and Twitter in general, it was predicted by much more experienced Marketers than ourselves, that many of the giant Social Media sites will shortly go through a stage of rationalisation; many will be more ‘regulated’ by government forces, some will disappear, and others will ‘grow up’ and inevitably become much more focused on business marketing, and ‘partnering’ with selected like-minded groups of targeted individuals. That’s where one could really extend ‘snobbishness’ – for good, or otherwise..! Let’s see. One thing is certain: Facebook and Twitter will be very different animals in a year or so from now. (Who knows, parts of the internet may not even be ‘free’ by then, and we’ll have to pay – even to send emails!) Let’s hope not!

  18. I’m with you Jon. It’s about understanding your market better than everyone else. It’s about listening to what your audience says and helping them.

    I think marketers should learn how to be a “good friend” to their audience. A good friend would never be a snob. A good friend would never recommend you crappy products. A good friend would always listen to you and help you out. A good friend would always care for you.

    In general though, I think knowing your target audience and how to connect with them is what really matters.

    Great post Jon! My score is 2. I’m guilty with number 10 & 12. [I really love tweeting quotes.] 🙂

    • Yep, I think being a “good friend” is an appropriate metaphor. Or, even better, be a good parent, as Sonia likes to say.

  19. My only real “snobbery” fault is when people abuse the system. Spamming, creating profiles instead of biz pages…well, really that’s it.

    And rather than wishing a new platform would fail, I do get annoyed when people insist I get on board when all signs point to that platform likely failing and me getting involved would be a waste of precious time.

    One snobbery I’m surprised you didn’t mention is one I’m guilty of: I constantly remind people that privacy in the social media world is dead. I don’t believe you can protect yourself much at all except for refusing to engage. It’s like sex…the only 100% protection is abstinence.

  20. Is anyone an expert in social media? When I read agent and publisher blogs, I get to hear about the latest in social networking; namely, pininterest now. As a writer that’s supposed to keep up with things, sometimes I get home at night and look at my computer. I say, “I don’t want to talk to you.” I crave real people. I think we all need to crave real people, but foster those invaluable friendships found online as we help and pray for each other. But if you let it, Social Media is the proverbial vampire sucking all the life from you until you get to a dangerous level on social networking (which can describe video gamers, too)–you can’t function in real life. You don’t know how to make real friendships or keep a conversation going on in real life. That’s the danger.

  21. I was really afraid I would be guilty of more than half and am thankful, I’m not a lost cause.
    I think it’s because of my philosophy of teaching that helps and probably why I love your site so much.

    Thanks for another great post (even if it hurts a bit).

    Bridget Willard
    aka (@gidgey @youtoocanbeguru @rigginsconst)

  22. Whenever I read Copyblogger, the game I like to play is guessing who the post author is. And it’s usually hard because everyone is so good and you’re on the same page.

    I didn’t guess this one correctly, but I’m not surprised. Epic writing, Jon, as usual.
    Snobbers unite!
    …and let’s get less snobish.

  23. You have me worried. I thought I was a snob but I’m not. I could only score one. I am still struggling to really get my head around Social Media but I do know that people can’t believe how prolific I am. I just have fun and share what I think might help others but I don’t count. I gave up on Klout because everyone seems to have a different opinion. I nearly gave up on Twitter when they said I couldn’t follow people because not enough people followed me. I just about died when I got threatened by both Facebook and LinkedIn for breaking their rules on following people. Now I resist asking anyone to follow or friend me.
    I find it really hard but really important to interact and given the time frame I engage but I saw a study the other day that says we can only engage with about 200 people properly in a year. From sales days, I would agree with that but following, reading being interested – there is little ceiling. And I know that watching you and the rest of the Copyblogger team for 2 years is what pushed me to join Third Tribe and buy some other things.
    Jon thank you for ALL the learnings I have done at your feet. I may not have told you before but I have shared your messages. Keep up the good work

  24. Guilty of #2.

    I spend ample minutes thinking about what to say on twitter. Pardon my ignorance,, but isn’t this what it is meant to be? Sending out quality tweets to your followers? For me quality means thinking about how what I am going to say will help someone out there who falls within my target market.

    How about that for being a snob Jon?

    If that’s part of the list, I stand to be corrected!

    Great piece as always Jon!

  25. You write a post where you can use a word like bullshit and it doesn’t jump out at you in a harsh way – now that’s good copy. I swore for perhaps my first time on the blog recently, funny enough in a post about multitasking (social media was a big part of it). http://www.leavemetomyprojects.com/3-steps-to-combat-multitask-overload/

    I have two questions that I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction on here – you touched on both above, but I have not been able to find any clear answers to the below.

    1) I’ve heard great things about Amazon affiliate marketing, but unfortunately I live in Illinois, where some legal tidbit prevents me from using the service. What other options do I have?

    2) Email lists. Everybody swears by Aweber, and I jumped on the bandwagon, but what about the email signup on your actual WordPress site? Should I use one, both? Not sure if this makes a difference, but I do use the Genesis theme (and love it so so so much!)

    I will also do my best to keep my snobbery in check (I’m a newer blogger, so I’m not too bad – yet). Thanks!

    • Not sure about Amazon, but aweber is definitely the way to go. Gathering email addresses is one thing. Getting emails delivered to them instead of ending up in the spam box is another. That’s where AWeber shines.

  26. I quite agree with you. If a writer or entrepreneur is active on social media for its own sake and not for the sake of her customers, she will become first out-of-touch, then broke. Social networking sites must be means to ends, never the other way around. So awesome to see a post from you!!

  27. This made me laugh because I am guilty of many of these, then I realized it was serious and then I just felt guilty. I’ve wanted to unplug for so long now I can’t even count the last time any of it was fun.

    Okay, it’s still fun but somewhere it turned into work too and that bites.

    I like the idea of helping people, that’s what got me into the whole thing.

    Great article.

    • Thanks Jen. IMO, finding time to unplug it is essential. Whenever I’m writing, I’ve found it helps to actually disable my Internet connection, so I can focus without distractions. Going on vacation to remote areas without good Internet access can be liberating too.

  28. I’m with you, Jon. I’m on the path to snobbery, but I’ll be charging for some awesome crap later this month to snap me out of it.

  29. I’m guilty, therefore I’m designating the entire day Sunday after church to get to know my online “connections” a lot better, make them friends, true friends! Thanks for sharing! God bless!

  30. For me the #1 sign you are becoming a Social Media Snob is when you start unfollowing everyone on Twitter to beef up your Klout score.

    Many of the so called “thought leaders” on Twitter are following so few that they are no longer helping to build the medium and are becoming little more than broadcasters.

    Social Media is supposed to be social. That requires actual engagement and if you are not following more than a few people, its difficult at best to say you are being social.

    I have asked many and the excuse I get is its impossible to follow a feed with tens or hundreds of thousands. I call BS on that.

    If you don’t understand lists so that you can manage feed size, interact with and follow more people, then go back and learn. Promote the industry by following back. Show you REALLY believe in social media by helping others build their social media business and that requires followers. Do more than broadcast and advertise on your Twitter acount.

    • Yeah, I think the big point is interacting with your followers. No, you can’t respond to every tweet if you have tens of thousands of followers, but you can respond to questions, nice complements, witty sayings. I’ve been trying to do more of this lately.

  31. I’m not guilty of any of those, but I haven’t been at this game for a while. I think I’ll add the list to my monthly blog review just to make sure I don’t end up being a snob. That said I’ve recently been scouting for quotes to tweet, not for attention, but to make people smile and/or to motivate them. I’m not entirely certain if that’s the same thing or not.

    You shared some really good advice about going into forums and seeing what people are saying about the bad products, which made me think of doing it for all the products (or maybe a selection of good and bad) and seeing what’s good and bad so I can then use that when creating my own products… Food for thought!

  32. I loved this post! I’m definitely on my way to being a social media snob but unfortunately I’m not popular enough. I do get annoyed when my friend, for example, says, “I’m not sure how to email you a link.” Okay that’s just pathetic. How do your empathize with that??? But okay you’re right we have to be more understanding. I still read and love every single one of my comments, but maybe when I have over 100 per post I won’t. Whatever, it’s good to be aware. Thanks!

  33. Brilliant Jon! I know you write great posts and I thoroughly enjoy reading them, especially if one takes into account how you managed to change your problems into opportunities. About this social media thing, I’m still trying to make sense of it all. Sometimes I am totally clueless and I desperately try to avoid those self-righteous know-it-all’s. From my current extremely limited perspective it’s as if there’s no surefire way to distinguish between the “smoke and bullshit” and what has a sound basis in reality?

    • In my opinion, the most important thing to look for is proof. Whenever someone talks about a strategy, expect to see actual numbers in a real-world scenario. If they can’t provide that, be suspicious.

  34. Jon…loved this! Right before I opened my firm 4 years ago, I was this person and reading your article brought back (not) fond memories of how I used to view social media. I came upon these same conclusions and decided to change my negative ways. And to back up what you wrote, after I did everything changed…for the better! Now my networks are constantly growing, engaged and full of goodwill. The best part? I know can focus on balancing my check book 🙂

  35. As someone who “doesn’t get it,” I appreciate your post.

    (Though I’ve definitely “spent more than 5 minutes trying to think of something witty to say on twitter.” I prefer to think of it as being diligent, not snobby.)

    The worst thing writers of all stripes can do is become disconnected from the Average Joe. Suddenly, you’re writing for .01% of people who are just like you (and probably don’t need you to write for them). It stifles creativity to be around like-minded people too much.

  36. I’m definitely with you Jon! I must admit I scored about 3 on the snobbery scale so I guess I can breathe a sigh of relief – there’s still hope of salvation!

    This is a really excellent blog post but what really clinched it for me is the second half of the post – “It’s about understanding your market better than anyone else”. I think sometimes it’s so easy to lose track of this focus point when you’re oohing and aahing over your number of hits, shares, comments etc so thank you for this timely reminder.

  37. Social media sites have become a big part of a lot of people’s lives in a very short space of time. It isn’t surprising really that there is now a certain amount of snobbery. With the rise in popularity, there are huge numbers of people now signing up for a Facebook or Twitter account. The older, established users are finding that they have to share the sandpit with the new kids too. Because social networks are so intrinsically democratic, the navel gazers that spend their time telling us the way to use social media will go unheard in the babble that passes through these sites every day.

  38. Thank you Jon for sharing such a wonderful article regarding Social Media Snob. The 21 signs will also make everyone of us so alert before we are in a serious troubles. Thank you Jon once again for making us aware if it.

  39. “Don’t just complain. Make your niche better.”

    Advice we all need to take to heart. We have the power to make social media whatever we want it to be. If you don’t want to shift through mindless clutter, then start filling your niche with great pieces of information! Take action and make it better.

  40. Nick~I wholeheartedly agree! Why not use social media to share valuable information, of your own or others. Jonathon~Your article really helped me solidify some things and I just linked to this article in a recent blog post. Thanks for providing the inspiration!

  41. Yes, i see the signs here in the UK as more people set themselves up as ‘experts’ in social media. People get hung up with the ‘numbers game’, whether their potential audience is likely to be interested in what they’re saying or not. Few are brave enough to stand up and say that many who regard themselves as ‘experts’ may well be able to broadcast to masses, but how many of those are actually engaging with what they’re saying? There are measurement tools available now that give an indication. The results can be interesting.
    I spend an increasing amount of time these days encouraging beginners,. We were all there once, not so long ago!

  42. Hey Jon,

    Well I’m guilty of #11.

    I can’t seem to be able to get rid of so much junk e-mail and I don’t unfollow /unsubscribe only from people that I don’t know, I do that with known people too when I think they’ve crossed the line -and my patience- a few number of times.

    I do fail in other categories as well but I don’t mention them as I don’t go all the way up to a 100% fail rate; i.e.

    #13 I hate Google+ but I don’t want it to fail either, or
    #14 I don’t have anything for sale but I do not look down on those who do, etc.

    You reminded me of those hippies that hate capitalism yet they go to private liberal arts colleges.

    Take care!

  43. Yes,Thanks Jonathan Morrow to share Nice topics with us.”21 Warning Signs Becoming a Social Media Snob” is really great information.We are now being careful to work in a social media.

  44. Great article!! It’s very easy to get distracted and disconnected from what really matters and that’s our inherent need to help one another out! If you know it then share it!! It will make you feel good about helping others and at the same time establish you as a credible, trustworthy person. Win, Win in my eyes!


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