DON’T add me to your social network, I have NO IDEA who you are

El Reg reruns one of Dabbsy's greatest hits


Worse, I have begun to be inundated by a fresh round of invitations from people I actually do know through a seemingly inexhaustible stream of new and entirely superfluous business social networking apps. Why do people I’m already connected to feel the need to connect to me AGAIN via multiple increasingly pointless, utterly unnecessary and no doubt outrageously insecure online contact databases?

As if deliberately designed to be even more annoying than the last, these new apps vie with each other to have the stupidest name, such as Wazz, Splooj and Pharrt. I can’t tell you how my heart sinks when I receive the following kind of message:

Hank Waggenburger III wants to connect with you via Buttplugg!

Arguably, the cause of this recent explosion in alternative business social media is not so much envy of LinkedIn’s success than the realisation that Facebook has failed to live up to the hype. A business owner myself, I have been recommended many times to establish a Facebook page and get spamming everyone I know to give me Likes. I have always resisted because this is precisely the kind of thing I can’t stand when a company does it to me.

Especially despicable is the con in which a company will announce a “competition” to “win great prizes” and all you have to do, kids, is to click “Like” on their Facebook page.

Personally, I would derive much more satisfaction if Facebook introduced a “Fuck off and die” button, or a “Stick your pissy little competition up your arse” button on these business homepages. In fact, I think I’d be willing to pay per click.

Other people tell me to get my business act together on Twitter. This much I agree with, but only because it’s expected of you. But Twitter’s cute premise of 140 characters, while strangely compelling and often entertaining, makes it singularly inappropriate for anything of substance.

I’m reminded of a MacUser magazine commission I was given in the late 1990s, in which I was expected to write “top tips” for some software application or other, using precisely ten words for each. Try this out for yourself and you’ll see the problem:

Select your primary shapes, choose Object > Shape and click on

In the same way, you can’t inform or instruct or do real business via Twitter, because the abridged format means you can’t get anything practical done with it. All you can do is hint at real stuff, or mention that real stuff exists but not on Twitter itself. Call me a heretic but Twitter is NOT content: Twitter just links to content somewhere else. And Twitter conversations are terrible because you can only say stupid little things one by one and so it takes ages to work out what each of you are talking about.

Worse, people don’t have to ask to follow you on Twitter, they just climb on board and run about your feed like a child with OCD until you throw them back into the water. I’m talking about the Twitter nutter who feels compelled to comment on every bloody thing I post. What is it, a kind of social media Tourettes?

No more for me, thank you. Please accept my apologies, friends: I will not be networking with you via Schlong, Phajyna or ArceCrak any time soon. ®

Alistair DabbsAlistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling IT journalism, editorial training and digital publishing. He maintains a strict separation of associates across social media: Facebook for friends and family only, LinkedIn for work acquaintances only and Twitter for anyone foolish enough to be under the assuredly mistaken impression that he would ever have anything remotely interesting to say.

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