Declaring Myself the Emily Post of Social Media

Alright, I’ve had it.

The next person who posts a ‘Top xxxxx on Twitter’ or “Top Social Media blah blah blah” is getting kicked.


We’ve gotten to the point of anointing Prom Kings and Queens and much like high school, I’m over it.

Let me explain, and I will use Twitter as the example because it’s the easiest and one of the most widely used social media platforms:

Twitter is much like a cocktail party. A very big cocktail party. With all sorts of people in the same room, talking to each other, talking to their martini glasses, talking to no one in particular. Everyone came to the party without an invite,  and for a different reason.

Some people show up to network. It’s good for business.

Some people show up to make sure you know all about their new product.

Some people show up to just hang out and chat.

Some people show up simply for the free booze.

Some people show up because their partner or spouse dragged them along.

It’s a social setting. We chat about kids and work and what we’re doing at any given moment. In one corner of the party I’m talking to business associates and we’re making deals, at the end of the room I’ve run into my cousin and we’re catching up on family matters. Right in the middle of the party and over by the bar I find a bunch of my girlfriends and we’re going to cackle and crack jokes and watch a hockey game.

Now imaging waking up the next morning from that cocktail party to find your social skills rated and your name on or off a list. Your social actions judged, critiqued, and analyzed by others. Your friendships and how you maintain them left for public comment.

It would never happen.

Why? It’s rude and totally poor etiquette.

I know of no other medium where a public assessment of your cocktail party networking successes, failures, and friendships were listed and ranked.

In fact, I’ve been to many a party and there was no score-sheet after on who worked the room better than anyone else. Relationships were not analyzed and then discussed by s0-called “experts.”

Sure, we might whisper about it over the water cooler the next day, but we’re certainly not going to rank you for all the world to see next to your colleagues, family, or friends.

At what point did gossiping about who’s the coolest Prom King and Queen become a “marketing tool” and considered anything other than RUDE?

Why are we talking about the people who are talking? Where is the value in that? Why are we measuring who can work a room better, when everyone in that room does NOT have the same motives?

I realize social media isn’t always mainstream, but our basic culture has not changed. People like to party and foster relationships for whatever reason strikes them that day. I find no value in playing arm-chair quarterback after the party is over and airing the social ineptitude or grace of my circle of friends.

It is not socially acceptable to rank your relationships. Nor is it socially acceptable to rank the relationships of others.

Find me the industry analysts that quantify what that golf-game between several CEO’s did and I’ll give you your “lists.” Find me the publication that ranks the top _fill-in-the-blank_ professional and how well they “do lunch” and I’ll concede the talkers talking about all the talking have value.

Right now, I see no value. Only opportunists.

Rude ones, at that.


  1. @Lisa: This actually makes you a cool kid by default.

  2. I think social rankings have existed for a long time. One example can be seen in things related to event planning, especially prior to the past one hundred years, when the cost of throwing a party made it prohibitive for all but the upper class. Things like guest lists, seating arrangements, etc. are all artifacts of ranking our social groups and those of others. The rankings are based on different goals (social comfort, likelihood of making a sale, romantic aspirations, etc.) but it’s been going on for quite awhile.

    While I find a lot of the list posts showing up in my twitter feed with TopXXX lists to be redundant, or even “link spam”, I can see why people are trying to figure out who fits where — it takes a long time to sort through the long tail of relationships to serve all the different goals at this digital cocktail party.


  3. I’m half with you, half with Aaron on this one. (Totally weird, huh?)

    Lists are human nature. Whenever I buck the trend and say “it’s too tough to choose” I get called a party-pooper or worse. But people keep making them. Just like they like to put each other in boxes with labels (‘oh, your ID says Mommy in it, you must be a MommyBlogger!’ ‘not so much, I blog about tech and social media’ ‘but it says Mommy!!’ ‘sigh’)

    I don’t really have or take issue with lists that are put across as “these are my must-follow people” or “these are the people I find most influential in my niche” – but I loathe the ones that purport to be of some authoritative source. If it says “Top ## People In” or “The ## Most Powerful” or “The ## Most Influential” then I hate it… because inevitably, it’s always crap.

    You’ll probably have to kick me at some point – because I will do a list. It’s an accepted reality that list posts get on the front page of Digg and get more traffic than any other type of post. Let’s be honest, if you’re not blogging just as a hobby, you’ll do a list post at some point.

    I just suspect that my list will probably be titled more along the lines of “The ## People I Learn the Most From” or “The ## Women I Wish I Was More Like” than “The ## Most Evil People on Twitter.” 😉

  4. I use Twitter for two reasons. First, I follow big dogs because they turn me on to interesting articles that I would not otherwise take (have) the time to find. Second, I have met (IRL) a lot of cool, interesting and diverse people locally and have attended fun events I wouldn’t have otherwise known about … even hosted a metro tweetup at my company before it knew what hit it. Only now is it (the company) coming around.

    I unfollowed (I hate the word “unfollowed”) several big dogs and told you why early on, because I was tired of being told indirectly how I was misusing Twitter.

    To be ranked – not that I am or want to be – screams of h.s. nonsense.

    In short, those with agendas need to chill out and accept the fact that they’re Olympic swimmers in the neighborhood pool in July. They provide great insights from time to time. Doesn’t everyone? But the community pool belongs to the people. Serious agendas belong in the private gyms. To think otherwise risks the big dogs becoming not much more than banner ads I typically ignore.


  5. GeekMommy… I’m torn. I would be honored to be on your People I Learn From list, and my Personal Brand wants to make your Most Evil People list.

  6. Rankings are for high school grades. All crap, as you say. My blog today is about how the A-list bloggers are pissed off at the blogosphere they created. Now they hate trolls. Now they hate stupid followers. But they created them. Rankings and lists create trolls and papparazzi. I should quit drinking.
    Happy Holiday, Queenie!

  7. You really should stop drinking before you embarass yourself more, Francine. Maybe in a sober state, you’ll recognize that you project your own prejudices unfairly against a whole group of people.

  8. Lucretia I’m not talking about the ‘I really like these people and think you will too’ kinda lists. I’m talking about the ‘1-10 greatest people on twitter’ or some bullshit like that. It’s like trying to rank who’s best at networking when half the party didn’t even show up to network.

  9. Oh well, you know how I feel about those! 🙂

    They’re almost as useless as the people who go around saying ‘well after all, I was on the “37 Most Powerful Women With 10 Toes to Ever Grace teh Interwebs” list last week’ and seem to think it means something.

    To paraphrase some actress I wish I could remember who it was “yes, the Oscar is very wonderful – it makes a great paperweight!”

    @Ike – dude, you can totally be on both lists! 😉

  10. I still think Groucho said it best:


  11. Lucretia, if you do a “The ## Most Evil People on Twitter” list, can I please please please be on it? LOL!!!!!!!!

  12. I’m confused. Then why did you thank people for nominating you for some BEST Of Twitter award? Which I then consequently went to that site and also nominated you for said award (status? ranking?). Please explain the difference to those of us who only Tweet sporadically…

  13. Toasty, as I indicate in the title of this post…it’s all about manners. I thanked people because it was polite to do so. I, however, did not lobby for any awards…unlike some people. It would be rude of me to not thank people.

    Now, that being said, my problem lies more in the so-called ‘social media expert’ lists ranking twitter users. The ones that declare, without any rhyme or reason, who is the ‘best’ at twittering. Not votes, not by some statistical process, but rather who’ve they have decided is the best at navigating and manipulating this virtual cocktail party.

  14. I hadn’t thought about it this way – which is why I read your blog – you always give me a new way to look at something – and I have to say that I think you’re right. The lists always make me uncomfortable – not because I’m on them – I’m not – but because it does feel as if you’re ranking and rating people based on how they “connect” with others. But maybe more so – doesn’t ranking someone tend to follow the same pattern. If ABC ranks 10 people than XYZ is going to rank 10 people and I bet that at least 5 of those people will overlap. So what does the ranking really mean? What are the criteria to be ranked? Is the criteria quantifiable?
    Thanks again for doing what you do – always though provoking!

  15. Its that someone is trying to quantify my friendships and how ‘valuable’ they are.

    I completely agree with you. Some people won’t even respond to you if you’re not “important” nor do they have the desire to get to know you. And then if you are or if you’re networked with other so-called “important” people, they @ you back a second later or @kjdhkjd @sdfjhf about meeting you. Whats even more sad is they actually WELCOME these people when they’re followed by them in a twitter post.


    Then if like, some regular guy whos a fan follows you it doesnt matter.

    Its actually quite pathetic


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