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7 Things That Should Be Banned On The Internet

I had this weird dream last night. I had been booked to appear on Oprah with both my dogs for reasons that weren’t absolutely clear. She was telling me how much she loved my blog although she thought I ought to swear a lot more.

“Oh, I’m not really sure about that” I said “Some people get offended by a swearing Life Coach”

“Really?” she said with a wink of an eye, and then turned to the audience and said:

“What do you fuckers think, should Tim swear more or not?”

A huge roar of “YES!” came back from the people watching and Oprah smiled knowingly at me.

She then said  “Tim, we think you should start running the Internet as of now and be able to do anything you want with it. So what would you like to do?”

I licked my lips in anticipation and was about to answer when the dogs started going nuts and launched themselves at Ms. Winfrey. Oh shit I thought, I hope they don’t kill her that will be terrible for business.

At that point I woke up and realized there was an armadillo in the backyard and the hounds had sniffed out the little fella and wanted a scaly breakfast. I also realized rather sadly, that I didn’t in fact own the Internet.

But what if I did, what would I do on first day at the office?

Keeping the theme of rampant negativity from last weeks A.O.B. I decided I’d like to kick off by banning stuff! And this would be the stuff I’d ban.

1. Pop Ups

In a brief moment of insanity I came within a kippers dick of installing a pop up myself last week. I was a victim of social proof and figured if everybody else is annoying the fuck out of each other with pop ups, I should annoy the fuck out of people too, right?

Wrong, wrong, and thrice wrong.

I know they get more people to sign up for your newsletter, but do they actually get more people to read your newsletter? Yeh, they probably do actually.

I’ve stopped reading some blogs because I’m sick of sitting there waiting for the bloody pop up to appear so I can close it and start reading what I want to read. Why not just put a gun to my head march me to my bank to make a withdrawal?

2. Saying ‘Great Post’ In Comments

If you say ‘Great post’ in the comments of a blog it bloody well better be a great post.

Great means great you know. There was only one Alexander the Great, I’m not aware of a Bob the Great or a Frank the Great. He was called great because he never lost a battle, not because he had a fairly popular blog and people liked to suck up to him.

If you say ‘Great post’ you better prepared to back it up with some facts and show me a list of the greatest posts ever written with some market research and focus group activity to back it up or I shall be forced to have you shot.

3. What I Learned Posts

“7 Things I Learned From My Dad When He Farted Because He Was Laughing So Much When My Gran Fell Out Of Her Rocking Chair” or “What My Younger Self Learned From My Older Self About Quantum Physics When I Was In The Womb Playing Scrabble” are no longer acceptable.

I suppose you may have learned that patience is a virtue whilst stood in the Post Office behind a 104 year old man that insists on telling the assistant about the time he got hit by mustard gas at The Somme. Or that death is inevitable after watching your goldfish float serenely to the top of its bowl bereft of life. But I doubt it, so quit it.

4. Automatic DM’s on Twitter

Let’s not mince words, on the official ‘Lame Scale’ I just made up, sending somebody an automatic response saying, “Thanks for the follow, I’m looking forward to your tweets” is right up alongside asking a celebrity to follow you on Twitter, as premium lame.

We all know the same message goes to everybody so not only it is impersonal, but you’re telling spammers how much you are looking forward to being spammed, weirdos how much you’re looking forward to them being weird and perverts how much you are looking forward to being perverted.

I’m pretty sure nobody sits there thinking,

“Wow, I’m so pumped at the thought of reading a random tweet at some indeterminate time in the future by some person who I don’t know on a topic I have no interest in”

On the other hand if I’m wrong and you do, just send a personal tweet to tell them and then go and book yourself some life coaching.

5. Announcing Your Location on Twitter

Don’t take offense because I know you’re a lovely person, but I really don’t give a rats or any other random rodents ass if you’re in a coffee shop, a shopping mall or a quandary.

Unless you’re a close friend or family member I don’t need to know. Then again if you’re a close friend or family member I probably already know, or I can at least ring you up to find out if it means that much to me.

The only people that really care where you are, are stalkers and people that send out auto DM’s telling you how much you’re looking forward to your tweets.

6. Posting Photos On Twitter

I have very little will power when it comes to clicking on links, especially when people tease me by saying something like “Wow, this is absolutely amazing” Like a sheep that’s had a lobotomy I’m clicking the link to check out what it is that’s so amazed somebody.

Then I get this huge dopamine crash when I’m taken to a picture of a cat playing with a fucking ball of string! I’m not going to ban this outright, but if you tell me something’s amazing it better be amazing!

At the very minimum I want to see Krakatoa erupting, a snake eating a house or Sarah Palin looking sane. No pictures of your dad eating grapes, 6 inches of snow on the ground in January in Buffalo, and definitely no, I repeat no, kittens. And I don’t care how cute they are!

7. List Posts

Ok, so technically this has been a list post, but that’s not the point, because I’m banning them for everybody else except me.

Nine times out of 10 a list post just tells people you haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about or you’re just too lazy to construct a proper post.

So what do you think? Have I been  tad unfair to some really nice people or are you on board for some Orwellian action?

Let me know what you’d like to ban (even if it’s opinionated Life Coaches writing posts that have nothing to do with Life Coaching) and we can start plotting together to take over the Internet, after all, how hard can it be?

Tweet of the Week

No idea if I’ll make this a regular thing on a.o.b. because I may well forget, but this tweet from Bud Hennekes really did make me laugh out loud.

“Don’t be real just because someone tells you to. That kind of defeats the point.”

49 comments to 7 Things That Should Be Banned On The Internet

  • “Don’t take offense because I know you’re a lovely person, but I really don’t give a rats or any other random rodents ass if you’re in a coffee shop, a shopping mall or a quandary.”

    As a life coach, shouldn’t you want to know when people you follow are in a quandary Tim?

    I agree with the rest of your list though.

  • This isn’t a great post Tim, this is brilliant. A true golden nugget! I like your blog more when you moan, all that life coaching stuff goes right over my head anyway.

  • Absolutely agree with the pop-ups!

    They’re especially annoying when you have a net book. The little x to close them is off the screen and the pop-up won’t move. You have to smallify everything, so you can barely see the x, hope you hit the right spot and then remember that you’re at 10% screen size so you don’t freak out and think your vision’s suddenly gone bad.

    And I was thinking it might be time to do a List Post because everyone says you should even though I hate them but I have no idea how to do a pop-up.

    Thanks Tim. Please choose a random compliment other than “Great Post”

    • Oh dear, that’s even worse than I thought. I’m on a 24″ Mac and my issue is I sometimes can’t find the tiny little transparent ‘x’ to close the damn things.

  • Fairly average post Tim, but it passes the time while I’m sitting in Starbucks.

    What I learned from reading your post is that you have a disturbing knowledge fish appendages. To prove how disturbed I am I’m going to send you an auto DM.

    3 Things I Hate:
    1. Life coaches with a sense of humour
    2. Life coaches without a sense of humour
    3. List posts purporting to hate list posts

    If you really do want to see an amazing photo all you have to do is remove my email address from your spam filter.

    BTW your site would be much better if you had a pop up IMHO.

  • Thanks Tim for this, now I will never say Great Post on a comment….but just for the record…
    Great Post! ahah

  • J

    Thought (in a moment of brilliance – or perhaps not) to start the comment with “Great Post”!! but thought better of it!

    I agree that all of the above have to go along with “How to” posts although I have contemplated writing “How to write the perfect list post that will make everyone tell you what a great post it is”!!

    Off to send you a DM on Twitter along with a link to a photo of a kitten eating my dad’s grapes!!

  • OK, I’ll bite… am I the only one who doesn’t know what the hell “came within a kippers dick” means? That one wasn’t stored in my British genes.

    • A kipper is a fish (really a smoked herring) and presumably it has a very small dick. Hence a kippers dick is a small distance.

      I’d never heard this expression until I worked in the ‘Black Country’ a very industrial area near Birmingham in the UK, but thye used it a lot and I adopted it.

      • I used to live within a three pint pee of the Black Country and I never heard them use the expression about a kipper’s dick. Mind you the Black Country accent was so thick I couldn’t understand a bloody word they said anyway!

        • I actually genuinely believe a Tipton/Great Bridge/West Bromwich accent is the most difficult to understand in the UK.

          That was the only place I ever heard that expression

  • I couldn’t agree more on pop-ups. I thought we got rid of them, and then HTML5 came and people are now thinking they are cool because they are not in the new window but on the new layer of the page. Well, they are not. They are as annoying as they ever were. maybe even more.

    List posts are OK. Sure some people can’t write them well, but those can’t write anything else so we hardly read them at all.

    • Like anything I guess, if it’s done well it’s done well, but sites that always use list posts (2 come immediately to mind in my genre) are of little worth imho.

  • Hey Tim,

    You know you owe me big time for me not getting your pop-up taken care of! I’m totally relieved. I think you are making a good choice, there are much better way’s to annoy people.. like list posts…

    But c’mon, kitties are soooooo cute sometimes.

    • Yes, I definitely do owe you!

      I suspect you knew my real feelings all along and dragged your heals accordingly. Well done sir!

      Have you ever considered becoming a life coach?

  • 3 Things I Learned From This Post:

    1. A new term with which to offend people (kippers dick.)
    2. You can post your location via Twitter.
    3. Pop-ups are annoying (really?)

    I don’t agree with the ‘great post’ thing though. ‘Awesome’ is much worse.

  • GREAT post! I agree with everything said, and something to go along with the automatic tweets from four square and gowalla that announce where people are? people who have their twitter feeds linked to their facebook feeds, so their locations and dull, non-entertaining, non-educational tweets are also there to bug you on Facebook. Can you imagine if these people had their Twitter feed come in on LinkedIn, too? it’s like you can’t get away from things you don’t care about!!

  • Great post!
    Thanks for writing it, I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts. =D

    My favorite’s number 5, I really don’t see the point because, like you said, only people that care about that are the guys wanting to kidnap you and your mom, or maybe not even her.
    And yeah, people just need to learn to use their adjectives, good, average, interesting, ugly, kinda cute, etc.

  • Some Great Points here Tim…Ooops!

    The auto DM’s might be the biggest waste of time going. I tell followers to @reply me since I purge my DM list without looking at it.

    Ryan B

  • Timbo,

    Well, top post, congratulations; Oprah’s question to the audience was so unexpectedly funny that my coffee sprayed out of one nostril.

    As a comparison, a ‘two nostril’ moment is watching Basil Fawlty trying not to mention the war…

    “I think I mentioned it once but I got away with it!”

    Cheers you mad Pommy bastard,


  • I agree with #1, #2, and #7.

    #1: I’m not comfortable with adding pop-ups to my site, because I don’t like seeing them, especially when I haven’t had a chance to check out the site, before I can decide whether I’m interested in joining the blogger’s newsletter or not.

    #2: Although I’m guilty of using “great post” a number of times, you’re absolutely right about this. We seem to applaud every attempt at a written post because it says something we already know and can nod to. It’s nice to be polite and encouraging, but we don’t have to give writers the impression that every post they publish is earth-shattering. I’ve seen several bloggers try and build anticipation on Twitter for their upcoming post, only to say what’s been said a thousand times, without any additions or change in angle.

    #7: List posts are a great example of a faulty perceived value to real value ratio: List posts seem more useful than they actually are. A short blog post that gets you to think differently is WAY better than a 101 list post that gets you excited with all the ideas you could apply in your life, only to end up being bookmarked (and stumbled), with no action taken. I love list posts that offer a sequence of steps to take, but dumping tips into a post isn’t usually effective.

    • For about 2 years now I have pondered a post in which I critique a load of other self-development blogs, BUT, only the ones I don’t like!

      I think it would be hilarious, but I suspect it wouldn’t win me many friends ;-)

  • Ken Gregg

    Tim, Since email is part of the internet I think you also need to ban people sending 10 mb video attachments of kittens playing with balls of string because they are too lazy to check to see that the same video is on youtube and they could have emailed a link instead. Except that you didn’t want to see the damn thing to start with.

    Or were you saving that for the next post?

  • Jose Bolaños

    not so great post.


  • But but but… my cute kitty picture is super-cute and totally different from the dozens of kitty pictures you’ve seen before!

    Alright, I think I’m off to write “7 Things I learned from Tim B.’s Great Post while I was lying with my laptop in bed.”

  • Kinda related to people saying ‘great post’, I think you should ban the ‘like’ button on facebook. What do I care if someone likes a random thing I posted, but they didn’t like it enough to comment?

    That really gets my goat.

    Also it made me weirdly pleased that Oprah offered you the internet and then you woke up to an armadillo.

    • That didn’t bother me before, but it might do now I’m thinking about it.

      I smell a Part Deux!

      And on that list will be people that throw in random foreign words just to look intellectual.

  • commenting on your blog site with, ‘thank you for visiting my site…good that you have found me…’ when they can say it in response to your comment in their own blog site. cheers :)

  • Hey there Tim,

    I’m catching up on your posts in my inbox and I thought I’d chime in on this one.

    I’m right there with you on “Great post!” My feeling on that is that people often do it to be part of the conversation without actually making a constructive comment. If they legitimately mean it, and aren’t just focused on linking back to themselves in some way, I appreciate the effort, however small it may be.

    I’m also on board with all the Twitter stuff.

    Of course I have to comment on the list post thing because I am the queen of list posts. In fact, a large portion of the posts on my site use the list format (both mine and submissions from other writers). I like how lists allow me to organize thoughts in an easily digestible way. It never occurred to me it might be construed as a sign of ignorance or laziness.

    I remember from back in the day that this isn’t a format you respect–and as always, I appreciate your ballsy candor! That being said, I do think there is an art to a great list post. And I also think people enjoy them when they’re done well.

    Hope all is well in Tim World =)


    • I’m not really that bothered about list posts as I do them every now and then and they can serve a purpose. They are much easier to write though imho and they encourage scanning and people looking for quick fixes rather than getting to understand something.

      If I’m struggling for time I know I can knock out a list post in under an hour whereas a ‘real’ post can take me 4 or more hours to write if I want it to flow properly.

      And all is well thanks as I trust it is with you too?

  • I hear you. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a post in an hour though. Some of my list posts are massive and involve quite a bit of research. In terms of the time and effort involved, they are quite real!

    Things are indeed well with me. I am launching a redesign today and working on my first book. It’s been a very exciting summer! =)