Don’t Play: Social Media Tips from Luvvie Ajayi

Growing up, we were told to “never judge a book by its cover.” Right?

Well, forget what your mama told you because award-winning writer Luvvie Ajayi is doing plenty of that in her new book, I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual. But she insists it’s for our [and her] own good.

“I called the book, ‘I’m Judging You’ because it’s true, I am judging everyone, but I’m also judging myself,” Ajayi says. “We all can and should do better.”

The truth is we all could use a little tough love, and when it comes to throwing some necessary shade, Ajayi doesn’t disappoint.

Ajayi’s debut book is packed with hilarious essays that tackle everything from race and culture to downright bad behavior, i.e. posting casket pictures. Oh, and hashtag abusers and over sharers? She’s coming for y’all, too!

Learning to communicate effectively on social media is key in this digital age—which is why Ajayi dedicated an entire section of the book to proper social media etiquette. A simple tweet or Facebook post can spark a movement, i.e. #BlackLivesMatter. As someone who was an early adopter of Facebook and Twitter and started blogging before it became everyone’s dream job, Ajayi understands this.

Want to get the most out of social media? Follow these five basic rules from the technology connoisseur herself.

1) Make sure your online persona matches who you are in real life.

If you’re not sarcastic and witty on a regular basis, don’t pretend to be online. “However you come across on social media should be pretty authentic of who you are in real life unless you have a satire account,” Ajayi says. In the words of Lauryn Hill, “It could all be so simple.” In other words: Do you boo boo.

2) Don’t randomly tweet people links to your work.

A little self-promotion never hurt anyone, but sending strangers links to your work is a no-no. “It’s like walking into a conference room and stuffing your business card into somebody’s hand before you even say ‘Hi’ and introduce yourself,” Ajayi says. Don’t be that person. If your goal is to get on someone’s radar by continuously tweeting them, you could end up on their blocked list instead. Is that what you want? We didn’t think so.

3) Don’t feel obligated to follow back.

Whenever you gain a new follower, you may feel obligated to follow back, but should you? If you’re using social media for pure enjoyment, the choice is yours. However, if you’re using various platforms to build and promote your brand, you should put some thought into who you allow in your online circle. “Don’t feel guilty if you have to moderate your space,” Ajayi says. “I tell people that my social media spaces are not democracies. They are dictatorships.” You’ve heard of the popular saying, “You are the company you keep?” The same applies to social media.

4) Create one account and master it.

Many folks prefer to keep their personal and professional accounts separate, but doing so could be counterproductive. “Don’t create separate accounts unless they have two different purposes and tones,” Ajayi says. “Your personal account will be viewed as an extension of your professional brand, so you can’t run away from the fact that they’re connected. A lot of times having two accounts stops people from posting at all.”

5) Have a conversation.

New to the whole Facebook and Twitter scene and don’t know where to start? It’s not as scary as you think. “Social media is all about connecting with people,” Ajayi says. “The platforms are all different, but ultimately, if you know the important things about communication, you can master Twitter, for example. You’re just communicating in smaller spurts.”

To order “I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual,” visit


Princess Gabbara is a Michigan-based journalist whose work has been published in several national publications, including,,, Huffington Post Women, and Sesi Magazine. Visit her site or follow her @PrincessGabbara.