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Congrats! The Back-Slappy Nature of Social Media

I’m a nice guy, right? I generally root for people to succeed, even when I’m skeptical of their plans.

Congrats! The Back-Slappy Nature of Social Media


I’m a nice guy, right? I generally root for people to succeed, even when I’m skeptical of their plans. And I know a pat on the back — to show encouragement, or indicate a job well done — can matter. But I’m sorry; I can’t do it any more. The “congrats” tweets: They need to stop.

Often, especially after a tech news event, my Twitter feed is filled with these meaningless kudos. Man, I sound like Gabe Rivera, but hear me out. This isn’t about some cold, hard stoicism where we’re all locked in some mortal confrontation and praise equals weakness. No, it’s about three simple types of sin.

The SuckUp Congrats (“@dickc congrats man, you totally nailed the commencement speech”)

Here someone tries to curry favor and attach themselves to a notable figure via public supplication. SuckUp pile-ons often occur.

The Humblebrag Congrats (“Zuck congrats on 1B users. Man, I remember 07 when we hit 100m #GoodTimes)

The congrats which allow you to place yourself upstream of the event or suggest that you had some contribution to the success. Note: One way VCs do this is via the “Congrats. Proud to be an investor! #blessed.”

The Undeserved Congrats (“Congrats [company which essentially just went out of business]! Excited for the next adventure!”)

Hey guess what, I showered this morning. Congratulate me?

Let’s embark together on a Congrats Twelve-Step Program. First, admit you have a problem. If you go back through my Twitter archives I’m probably guilty of all three. But not recently. You see, I now stop myself if the congrats is meant to aggrandize myself alongside the recipient. And then even if it’s pure, I’ll send an email or post to their Facebook wall. Keep it quiet. On the down low.

Congrats, you made it to the end of this post.