54 Warning Signs That You Work In Social Media

by Jason Keath on Dec 08, 2011

I really hate when I have to deliver bad news to our readers, but the fact is, I know many of you are in danger of this illness. I personally have been battling against it fairly publicly, and yet I have noticed many of you might even have it worse.

Those of you at standing desks right now might want to sit down.

Some of you ARE in fact social media professionals.

I know, it sounds horrible. And there really is no known cure to date. The best remedy right now, is to become Amish. And even that seems to be slipping as a solution.

So you might be asking yourself “This is horrible, how can I tell if I have it?” Well, luckily, there are some clear signals that you might be afflicted.

These are a few of the warning signs…

You might work in social media if…

  1. Your parents keep up with your life through your Twitter feed.
  2. You are actually using Google+.
  3. You have sent a DM to someone sitting within 5 feet of you.
  4. It’s been years since someone mentioned news to you that you hadn’t heard already. – Derek Shanahan
  5. You verbally hashtag real world conversations.
  6. You are the mayor of something other than your home. – John Hondroulis
  7. You judge anyone with a hotmail email address as not so hip.
  8. You own a t-shirt or jewelry with your Twitter handle on it.
  9. You look down on anyone that does not own an iPhone.
  10. You get distracted easi… – Dave Delaney
  11. You look down on anyone that does not own an android.
  12. You secretly judge blackberry owners.
  13. You run into people you have not seen for years and they know everything about your life through Facebook, Twitter and your blog. – Inspired by DJ Waldow
  14. You secretly judge QR codes that are on subway ads or in airplane magazines. – Inspired by Scott Stratten
  15. You sign up to social networks before there is any discernible value, just to be an early adopter.
  16. You have reached the friend limit on Facebook.
  17. You know that there is a friend limit on Facebook.
  18. Your mom just tells her friends that you work “on the internet” – Inspired by David Spinks
  19. You checkin to a restaurant before actually speaking to anyone there.
  20. You not so secretly judge anyone following more people than are following them on Twitter.
  21. Your phone is usually face up on the bar or restaurant table when you are out.
  22. Your couch has Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare or Angry Bird pillows.
  23. Your world feels like it’s coming to an end when you get a low battery alert on your smartphone – Elysa Rice
  24. You take photos thinking about how they will look on Facebook.
  25. You read whatever news you find on Facebook and Twitter.
  26. You are haunted by the Tweetdeck chirping sound. – Nicole D’Alonzo
  27. You secretly judge magazine and TV ads that promote their social profiles poorly.
  28. You secretly hate friends who have more Twitter followers than you.
  29. You have a backup plan for when Twitter goes down.
  30. When you have bad customer service, your first step is to find the company’s Twitter handle.
  31. You complain about how bad Klout is while still signing in to check your score everyday.
  32. Your smartphone is your best friend.
  33. You hate when people use the word “viral.”
  34. You think of @GaryVee every time you see an orange Crush soda.
  35. You read Mashable more than you read the USA Today.
  36. You know what a bookmarklet is.
  37. You have Google alerts setup for your own name.
  38. You are working on a ‘strategy’ for people to like you. – Ryan Boyles
  39. You love Twitter.
  40. You secretly hate Twitter.
  41. You respect Justin Beiber for his Twitter following and recently learned he plays music too.
  42. You assume someone is talking about social media instead of pending nuptials when they mention the word “engagement”. – Dave Cutler
  43. You get bored reading news that is longer than 140 characters.
  44. All of the parties and events you go to are from Facebook invites.
  45. Spike Jones has ever made fun of you. – Inspired by Jason Falls
  46. No one in your family is capable of explaining to their friends what exactly it is that you do. – Mandi Laine
  47. Your significant other asks, “Are you still working, or just tweeting?” – Ryan Boyles
  48. You never ask to redeem Foursquare specials because you hate explaining them to your server.
  49. You think that your friends that are not on Facebook don’t have birthdays.
  50. Your use Pinterest to write your letter to Santa. – Inspired by Nicole D’Alonzo
  51. You ask your coworkers and friends for a “big favor” — to help Retweet your latest client’s Twitter campaign.
  52. You are fully aware that Auto DMs are what is really wrong with America.
  53. When you completely lose your voice, you use Twitter to ask those sitting with you to “pass the butter, please” #truestory – Lea Marino
  54. As much as you say you hate the term you secretly hope that someone calls you a “guru” – Simon Salt

Thanks to our Google+ fans for the help.

If you have any additions, please add them below in the comments.


Image source: Shutterstock.com

Post Author

CEO and founder of Social Fresh, the social media education company. Jason is a social media consultant, a social media speaker and industry analyst. He consults with corporations and agencies on social media strategy, building community, and influencer...

  • This is hilarious.   I am sure there’s tons more, and here would be my addition:   “Your grandmother thinks you’re an alcoholic from all of your instagram photos — and she sees them because you got her addicted to Facebook.” (True Story).

  • Haha!  This is great, Jason!  My addition:  “During normal conversation, you wish that you could press a ‘Like’ button instead of making the effort to actually respond.”

  • You’ve ever “gone to the bathroom” to check [insert social network] without scorn of your non-social friends. // You think people in meetings should be limited to 140 characters per point. // There are more than 10 people you have met in real life and still know only as their Twitter handle but you have no idea their real name. 

  • There should be a way to +1 individual answers!

  • so guilty!

  • You write certain words with hashtags, like #chicago or #coffee, in any communication without noticing.

  • soooooo guilty of almost all of these :) My favorites are the ones where your family doesn’t know how to tell their friends what you do for a living. 

  • Uh oh. What does it mean when the above list is all true… except you can remove the word “secretly” from each of signs that contain that word? :o

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  • Anonymous

    Ha that was awesome!

  • Thanks for including my entry Jason. This is a great collection of… ;) 

  • Nice article! Speaking of Twitter, have you seen the new look Twitter has? It’s on Youtube http://goo.gl/XOwfc

  • Love this

  • Refresh is your new best friend! ;o)

  • Ha! :) :)  I *love* this. My additions?
    – You think in tweets.
    – You refer to people by their Twitter handles. To their faces.
    – You’ve wished for a way to tweet straight from your brain, and then fallen into a philosophical wormhole about the collective unconscious. 

  • So true! Except I don’t secretly judge…I do it in public :P

  • Anonymous

    How about…”You’re (not so) secretly irritated that you cannot +1 this post.” Hahaha

  • I wrote this : http://www.facebook.com/notes/josie-boccianti-emmons/you-know-you-have-been-working-from-home-for-too-long-when-/10150444699099356 I work from home on social media , a lot of them apply to me too :) 

  • Anonymous


  • – When your child does something embarrassing and immediately asks you not to tweet it. 

    – When you get irritated that someone wants to communicate via spoken word on the telephone. 

  • Looooove. Even though you judge me for my Blackberry.

  • To add to that, Serena, I find that I feel a certain degree of cognitive dissonance when I interact with digital content that doesn’t have a like button. It drives me crazy.

  • Mckra1g

    @angeliqueandfriends:disqus LOL @ the Blackberry. I feel like a schmoe because I still have one. I bought an iPhone for my kid instead, and took one for the team by using the BB. #firstworldproblems. :)

  • Seriously Jason, this is one of the best blog posts I’ve read in ages. Love it! I’d love to highlight just one favorite, but they are all so applicable…

  • Hah, pretty spot on!

  • re: #53, I don’t know about you guys, but my voice is anything but LOOSE! But when I do LOSE it, I do tweet, FB chat, etc those sitting two feet from me. 

  • Dani

    “If you secretly roll your eyes everyt ime someone calls themselves a “social media guru”

  • How about half of your friends you address as their Twitter handle or blog name because you don’t know their name IRL? Also, you use the term “IRL.” 

  • Anonymous

    This is great – especially after reading an article on Huffington Post yesterday about this same topic – except it was being completely serious in regards to Social Media Addiction…

    After being quite distraught over a somehow having my first addiction because building an online biz does mean that I have to (even when I don’t wanna) spend a good amount of time using social media – reading this list made me sigh in relief.  While I may slightly have a few problems I wouldn’t have even thought that at least 75% of those answers could even be possible.
    Off to check my twitter feed before my hubby gets home… planning ahead ;)

  • @lacedoggydogg

    Your conversations with friends aren’t as engaging as your Twitter feed.

  • This was awesome! Thank you for saying what we cannot or refuse to admit at times.

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  • Even you can’t quite explain what you do for a living.
    You can’t come up with a good elevator speech because you’re sure it would take a two-week Carribean cruise to adequately explain what you do.

  • Singledigitdenim.com

    Its more efficient to let your coworkers know you’ll be late via twitter than an email blast #truestory ~@denuology

  • Connie Crosby

    You have difficulty explaining to your family why it is important to miss dinner with them to attend a Tweetup with people you have never met before.

  • Complete genius post – more than half apply to me.  I’d like to add

    “You don’t eat any food unless you know it will look good on Foodspotting”,
    “You can’t eat any food until you take a photo of it for Foodspotting, Foursquare, Flickr etc etc”
    “You end most sentences when someone asks if you’ve seen the latest “viral”, “meme”, “youTube” video with – do you not read my blog/Tumblr/Posterous, that’s days old”

  • Rule 55 – nobody’s noticed the spelling mistake in this list…

  • Cre8tivelady

    Love that one– that you know someone
    ‘s handle but not their actual name.

  • Can’t help but smile everytime I read a post that is so true for me :P

  • Haha! #ijustdid just that! 

  • Haha! I see myself nodding to most of these and here are some which I’d like to add:

    1. You say “+1 or RT” instead of Agree.2. You don’t mind if people don’t remember your FULL NAME as long as they recognize your Twitter handle.
    3. You exchange Twitter handles instead of digits.
    4. You keep your statement to 120 characters or less – you want the higher probability of getting RTs ;) 

  • Another one: when you know the “hot topics” of the day before getting out of bed (because of course you check your social platforms as your eyes open)

  • I would add these: -When someone changes their avatar you notice it.
                              -It’s been 2-3 days since you created some “content” and you know it…    

  • Wei Yang

    53. should say “lose” =P

    I need to follow up with 22.

  • Awesome list!!

  • cindy


  • Awesome.  Are you in our house?  LOL

  • Anonymous

    Your Twitter followers think you’re an extrovert, when in reality you’re an introvert.
    You have better conversations online than you do offline.

  • Julie Janak

    THIS is funny.  Also: “You see people in public that you SWEAR you know who they are by seeing their Twitter photo- but have never seen them in person or even Tweeted at them.” -True Story

  • I just clicked “like” on your comment rather than actually respond.

  • Anonymous

    I have “favourited” your comment! 

  • Socialmediadarling

    OY! I hide in the bathroom all the time!

  • Sarah

    When your significant other frequently says “Can you check your twitter for Dodger news, please?”

  • Commanderstitch

    i do all this without trying. and i’m not paid to be a social networker. bummer!

  • You met your husband on Twitter. True story!

  • Sarah

    I met mine on Myspace!

  • When listening to the actual radio, you lean over to click the Pandora thumbs up or down. 

  • Mrs Campbell

    But that is so old-school.  I was known by my BBS handle for years!

  • Claudia Petrilli

    oh man.  You just described my life ;)

  • Claudia Petrilli

    my friends and I totally refer to other people by their twitter handles.  Otherwise we wouldn’t have any idea who we’re talking about

  • You know you work in social media when you view with great disdain the creation of friend profiles by brands. And, actually, that’s what I think might really be wrong with America.

  • Hahaha! I always “go to the bathroom” to check my feeds. Sad but true. As I wrote on Twitter, “you have more dates with your smartphone.” True story!

  • Haha! Kat, I ALWAYS think in tweets. “This is an EPIC moment… how can I fit it in 140 characters minus the picture link?!” “What can I say in PC terms as not to offend half my followers? Maybe I just shouldn’t say anything at all…”

    I also love your other points. Sometimes I think I tweet things… but they’re just swimming around my brain. Dangit.

  • You know you’re too into grammar when you correct other people in your mind… or, out loud. I’m a victim of this disease, as well! ;)

  • “…If you are hesitant to try a place if it’s only got 3 stars on Yelp.” That’s more on a general social media scale, but still ;) Where’s the sense of adventure now that social food reviews exist?? I need to put down my phone, sometimes.

  • You roll your eyes as a new virus or spam goes around because you know 1,000 fans will fall for it and your feed will be junked up for a week.

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  • Ashamed but will freely admit to doing a happy dance after composing a tweet that is exactly 140 characters on the very first try. The fact that I’m writing this comment fairly late on a Friday night should be another indication that I am utterly guilty of most, if not all of the above points.

  • Lauren Awesome

    If it was easier for you to count the things on this list you _don’t_ do…yet. ^.^

    (For the record, mine are 16, 22, 28, 34, 45, 49.)

  • Hahaha!! In my opinion, those are signs of a ‘Social Media Addict’.  A “guru” would know better!!!

  • Bliss Hanlin

    You are having a “too much content” moment.  And you actually phrase it that way to yourself in your head.

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  • You own Moo cards for your personal branding.

  • When you say “lol” in real life even though you know that is something only fifteen year old girls say. When your friend tells you about a new app or social network and you have downloaded/signed up before they stop talking….

  • Your kids often say “all you do is sit around and play on the computer”!

  • U no u hav socmed diseez wen u typ n abbrevs 4 ur msgs 2 frndz 2 meet the 140 char lmt.

  • Richard

    “the” USA Today? Now that’s definitely the sign of someone who spends too much time reading applicable blogs!

  • Xbadgr

    You hate it when the phone rings.
    You hate it when you place a call and don’t get voicemail.
    You secretly wish that your iPhone didn’t have that annoying “phone” feature.

  • Ellen Christian

    Oh my word… You got me pegged!

  • Madison Johns

    When your mom calls the first thing she says to you is “I saw that your doing … on Facebook.”

  • Anonymous

    My kids actually asking me to post what happen on facebook.

  • Hashtagjustsaying

    U no u hav socmed diseez wen ur 13yo nces n nphws dnt get y u undstnd abbrev msgs lol

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  • …your top two indicators of whether an industry event is any good are [a] the coolness of its Twitter #eventABC11 clickstream and [2] how many people have checked into the event on Foursquare.

  • True story…I learned my only brother, his wife and family were moving to Vegas, not from them but on FB.

  • Wait…not THE USA Today, just…USA Today. [“And THAT was his big contribution to USA Today…”]

  • Wait…not THE USA Today, just…USA Today. [“And THAT was his big contribution to USA Today…”]

  • You’ve announced in real conversation that you “Like” something as well as “+1” it. (And yes, I have done those…I sometimes even “+1,000,000” if I really like it.)

  • In vocal conversations with friends you have to differentiate between liking something and “Like”-ing something.

  • You wonder where the “like” button is on PowerPoint presentations

  • Jeffcotrupe

    My God, I sequenced something “a” and “2”–it’s like an SNL joke…hope the points ring true anyway.

  • Tiggerati

    When you step inside and think the graphics are amazing.

  • Tiggerati

    Darn that was supposed to say ‘outside ‘

  • You have trouble talking more than 140 characters at a time

  • My kids say I work in Facebook

  • You might work in social media if the 1st thing u do n the morning is check facebook & twitter to see if u have any new comments, tweets or followers!  Its ur pre-coffee!

  • This post must go viral!

  • You refer to others and yourself by their Twitter handles in everyday conversation.

  • If your child’s first words came from the womb via Twitter.

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  • Phoebe

    When you are on holidays in remote areas and are not connected to the internet, you say “if i was on facebook right now, i would post this status update”

  • lol…I thought this is some kinda of a disease. I’m glad I read it complete…hahaha…very funny. I like #1 very much..lol..omg! I need to share this…
      Mom Blog and   WAHM

  • You lost  me at #9

  • Stacy Roby

    You know what your friends will ask for before they do because of their Facebook posts – Stacy Roby

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  • I judge anyone who reads USA Today period. 

  • Guilty of most but mainly the
    first. My mom will start texting me random questions and I’m often
    confused until I realize that she is reading my twitter feed.

  • yes, yes, yes…

  • Oh this is me. Please don’t call me and want to talk while my 4 kids scream in the background. I always use email or text where possible. It feels so much more sane.

  • Way too funny! I can relate to so many of them!

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  • You want to know my sign… “social media” is in my job title! Good list man… that was fun. Now I want an orange soda.

  • You did a very good job. Even i also like this post. I always tweet that post that i like. Thanks for sharing this awesome article.

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  • Veronica Cannady

    55. You boast about your Yelp Elite status.

  • You see something good when you’re out and about and look for the Like button.

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  • this is really great post.. Enjoyed it and yes have a social media fever alreadyyyy :)

  • That was beyond awesome (and convicting).

  • “You personally have multiple blogs and/or twitter handles to suit your different audiences” and you think about your content in terms of shares, +1’s and RT potential….

  • You ask your blog readers to add additional contents.

  • These are amazing! I would have to add: Checks Twitter/Facebook/other social media on phone before getting out of bed in the morning.

  • I met mine on Facebook :)

  • Danielle

    This is too funny!

  • Lol, that’s awesome….Thank’s a lot for an article.)))

  • Kelly Walberg

    You laughed out loud in your office to every item on this list!

  • “You critique the Timelines of company Facebook pages.”  … Can’t help myself.  And the QR code one is so true I do that all the time!

  • Also I just realized the first 5-10 minutes of conversation when I get home from work between my hubby and I is all about if we saw ___ on Facebook today.

  • -You feel like an amazingly accomplished photographer with your abilities to make an ugly picture pretty by way of Instagram.
    -You can name each Instagram filter when scrolling through your feed
    -You accidentally call someone by their twitter handle and not their name
    -You meet someone you follow on twitter for the first time in person, and are shocked that they look differently than you anticipated

  • Loved it!

  • Martin Dale

    hahahhaha! This is really funny. You can add this one: “You always have an app suggestion to solve your friends’ problems.”