I do my best to be positive in all my online interactions, but I have make an exception to my general online joviality to address a very obnoxious trend. It happens to me far too often for comfort, so I’ve decided to take a stand against this insidious practice. If we can defeat this evil, then the social media world may live, once again, in peace and tranquillity.
The symptoms of this disease are numerous, but the cure is simple:
Don’t Tag Me, Bro.
Tagging people in pictures that don’t have anything to do with them, whether it be to promote your latest EP or to shill your products, is a major annoyance. When I see that little red number at the top of my Facebook page, I get a flutter of joy, joy that is quickly dashed into a thousand pieces when I discover that my notification is a covert ad, and not a meme-sharing friend. This practice is particularly bad in the music world, and it’s doing a great deal of damage to the social media music culture.
As a fellow musician, I fully understand how difficult it is to get your music heard by the increasingly apathetic masses. Alienating your potential fans, however, is completely antithetical to the goal of self promotion. Instead of taking five minutes to reach out and send a personal message, you cheapen whatever it is you are trying to promote with impersonality. Social media has “social” in the title for a reason. If you use these social platforms, you had better be prepared to do the legwork of socializing. If all you want is impressions, buy a billboard.
This practice is not limited to up and coming artists. I won’t name names, but there are culprits of this who are companies who clear well into the hundreds of millions of dollars in profit, yet still can’t seem to understand the basics of social etiquette. Since Facebook pages can’t tag individuals, these companies have to have their employees do their tagging dirty work. It’s even worse when a larger company spam tags, because I’m literally inundated with update notifications when people start to comment on the picture. Funny thing is, nine times out of ten the people commenting on the picture are questioning why they were included in it. It’s an echo chamber where everyone loses, especially impressionable people like myself who still get excited when I see fifteen notifications when I check Facebook
So let’s put a stop to this. Facebook friends, countrymen, and any Romans still out there, lend me your ears. When this happens to you, don’t hesitate to label this spam-tagging as what it is: spam. The Facebook community will thank you, and we can all live in a better digital world: a world free of overhyped and underproduced mix-tapes and poorly conceived corporate social media “grassroots” campaigns.
Mr. David Benson is a social media analyst and coffeephile. He currently lives in New York City and works as an analyst for Mashwork, a social media analytics company.