9 pet peeves from running the UsVsTh3m social media brand accounts

Every social media manager in the land must have some pet peeves among the kind of responses his or her brand generates. The tropes you see over and over again, which you want to respond to sarcastically. But probably shouldn’t. So, in the interests of radical transparency, hopefully making you laugh, and shamefully plugging my appearance at Social Media Week London, here is a list of the social media-isms that have been driving me nuts whilst helping to run UsVsTh3m’s accounts.

UsVsTh3m Success magazine

1: The adverts moan

UsVsTh3m has tried lots of things to see if they work. One thing we tried was some promoted tweets to see what response we got, and whether it could help tip some already successful games into being more viral.

Whenever you do a promoted tweet campaign you get complaints. Just a handful, but they are always there. People who decide that instead of letting a promoted tweet slide by their eyeballs on the FREE web service that they are using for FREE, they simply have to take forty-five seconds out of their finite existence to tell you that they do not like to see adverts on their FREE web services.

Bonus points awarded here for the passive-aggressive .@UsVsTh3m at the start of the tweet so that all of their followers know they are angry about the advert on their FREE web service too.

2: Debugging ad-blockers

We follow up all bug reports on our awesome mind-blowing games, especially just after one has launched. It is always very worrying to hear “It doesn’t work for me on Browser X/OS Y combo” when it is one of the popular ones we’ve tested it on.

My favourites are the ones you enter a long correspondence with, ask what browser extensions they are running, and then sometime later in the conversation they casually mention “Oh, I’ve got an AdBlocker installed.”

To which I always want to reply: “Awesome! So you are costing us bandwidth to serve content to you, denying us the opportunity to earn any revenue from it via ads, have got something arbitrarily re-writing the code we are delivering to your client, and we are now spending loads of time on you personally to fix a problem with our free game not working! You, sir, are definitely the kind of person whose user experience we value very highly.”

But I never do.

3: Remote misogyny

When we started UsVsTh3m we made it a rule that we would avoid jokes that rely on sexism or racism for their punchlines. If people have complained we’ve fallen short of that, we’ve responded to the complaint by including it in a re-edit of the article.

Which is why it is galling when someone takes our material on Twitter and uses it as a springboard for misogyny. “Here’s Oprah,” we say. “Do you think she knows her dress looks like male genitals?

“Hur Hur Hur,” some knuckle-dragger thumps into his keyboard. “Bet that’s the only way she can get any cock.”

Why don’t you cock off, you cocking moron?

4: “Maths isn’t arithmetic”

There is a special circle of hell reserved for would-be internet pedants who are specifically incorrect with their pedantry. With UsVsTh3m this has mostly centred on the game “You can’t do simple maths under pressure.” At least a couple of times a week somebody informs us that since the game only consists of simple sums, we are in error in calling it “Maths”, and it should be called “You can’t do simple arithmetic under pressure.”

In fact, though, what they are actually revealing to us is that they didn’t play the game long enough to get to the level that features solving equations, before being overcome by the insurmountable urge to correct somebody on the internet.

Mate, it turns out you can’t do pedantry under pressure.

5: People on Twitter telling me I’m doing Google+ wrong

We tried Google+ for a bit. Each day I published the 3 best bits of content or an UsVsTh3m game. Big pictures. I even put up some exclusives. And in return, not a flicker. We ended up in 16 circles and got one comment. After a few weeks I decided to put my time and effort elsewhere. I’m not saying nobody uses Google+, but with the resources we have we don’t have time for a long slog building up a following on a fifth social network which for us was lagging way behind the adoption curve of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and good old fashioned “dark social” email.

But if ever I make any public remark about it being a struggle to get traction on the Google+ platform with that type of content, I get besieged by fanboys telling me it is the fastest growing social media platform in history, and that I’m totes doing it wrong.

On Twitter.

6: “Something something, urgh, Trinity Mirror linking to itself”

Since launch UsVsTh3m has retweeted or linked to something else financed by Trinity Mirror a handful of times out of 1,000 or so posts. Every time it does, someone seems to tweet something along the lines of “Shameful self-promotion by Trinity Mirror, misleading their audience there.”

Here’s how it works. There are some sites on the internet financed by Trinity Mirror. There are some sites on the internet not financed by Trinity Mirror. If stuff on the internet is good, we link to it.

It would be misleading our audience to link to Trinity Mirror stuff just because it comes from Trinity Mirror. And it would be misleading our audience to avoid linking to things we think are editorially worth linking to just because they are funded by Trinity Mirror.

And for everybody who has tweeted criticising any cross-promotion, I’m not holding my breath for your 998 other tweets saying “There is Trinity Mirror, openly linking out again to the rest of the web in a way that few mainstream news organisations ever manage.”

7: Telling teacher

You do a tongue-in-cheek blog post which contains some assertions that are clearly ironic or exaggerated for comedic effect. A bit later, someone reads it in the most po-faced way possible, and starts tweeting you asking you to clarify exactly why you’ve made this joke.

And then for good measure, they start @-including some official account that represents somebody who has been mentioned, asking you to explain the joke to them. Presumably in the hope that their social media manager or brand controller will take offence and start asking for things to be taken down.

It is the Twitter equivalent of the snotty teacher’s pet bouncing up and down in their seat, hand erect in the air, shouting “Please Miss! Please Miss! I cannot tell a lie, but Tucker Jenkins has just etched ‘Down with skool!’ into the desk using his compass Miss. Miss! Miss! Please Miss! Look at me Miss!”

8: Damned with faint praise

“Usvsth3m, or whatever the fuck that website is called, has to be top five worst things currently on the internet.”

Only in your top five? Goddammit, I want to be #1 at everything.

9: Spelling pedants

Oh, I take that back immediately. The distributed sub-editing and fact-checking power of Twitter is a beautiful thing to behold. Especially for spotting Muphry’s Law in action. You know, when you write something criticising someone for a spelling or grammer errer, and inevitably include one yourself in your complaint.

Feel the love

Actually, we’ve been really been taken aback by how positive the social media reaction to UsVsTh3m has been so far. These pet peeves of mine make up a tiny fraction out of the jokes, tips, links and positive feedback we’ve been sent, and the huge number of retweets, likes and shares we’ve seen of our stuff. It has been amazing, and a form of content distribution that has, I believe, joined search as a channel that content businesses absolutely have to get right if they want to succeed on the net.

I spoke that with Luke Lewis of Buzzfeed UK, and Richard Moynihan from the Metro the Telegraph at #SMWLDN. Find out what we said…