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A little taste of my Social Media love…

Tweeting Through Tragedy

on July 23, 2014

HeadlinesWhile I’m not a real runner, I was definitely part of the “¼th of people” that learned about, and followed, the Boston marathon bombing via social media. At the time, I worked with two people that were actually running the marathon and our entire office was following the race via our social accounts. Because of this, my co-workers and I learned about the incident relatively quickly and we were able to stay on top of the information pouring in from the scene and surrounding areas. As the story continued to develop, it became increasingly more difficult to decipher the correct information from the false reports.

It’s easy to see how misinformation gets spread so quickly – when CNN first tweeted incorrect information about a suspect’s arrest, it was retweeted over 3,000 times. However, when they sent out a corrected tweet with accurate details, it was only retweeted 1,500 times. Whether this is because users would rather create “drama” or because the correct information wasn’t as “exciting” as the false information, we will never know. Because of the rapid nature of social media, specifically Twitter, it’s imperative that news organizations have their facts in order before tweeting – in situations like this, news outlets strive to be the first to report new information; however, they should focus just as much (if not more) time and energy on being the first to report accurate information!

copsNews organizations aren’t the only ones at “fault” during times of struggle and tragedy though. Often times, other organization take situations like the Boston marathon bombing and spin it into a marketing opportunity. Specifically, the Ford Motor Company took a heartfelt “thank you” to the first responders and turned it into, what seemed like, a full blown advertising ploy. We have no real way of knowing whether or not this was Ford’s intention, but the photo seen here certainly did not sit well with a great deal of people. Personally, I don’t have a huge problem with Ford’s message here – I don’t think it’s the most appropriate way to say “thank you” but it certainly beats not saying anything at all.

When it comes to organizations or individuals asking for “likes” to support a person pictured in a post, often someone who is sick or injured, my feelings are torn. While I do think that particular person would love to see how many people “like” them, I would hate for the person to read the comments on these types of posts. The comments can very quickly escalate to rude, nasty and offensive political battles on extremely personal and sensitive subjects – that is certainly not what I would want a sick or injured person reading! In these cases, however, I don’t tend to feel like the organization asking for “likes” is doing it for purely selfish reasons. In general, I think their efforts are sincere and honest.

partyAlong those same lines, I don’t think that companies or individuals posting “normal” things in the midst of situations like the Boston marathon bombing are necessarily unethical. While it might rub some people the wrong way, it could also be a way of showing the “bad guys” that we will not let their actions affect our daily lives.  I do think that it’s more acceptable for individuals to do this rather than businesses or organizations – it might be best to not spam your users with sales pitches during these situations. If brands don’t wish to address the situation directly, they should at least keep their posts general and not “in-your-face” advertising.

Ta-ta for now!


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One response to “Tweeting Through Tragedy

  1. Justin. says:

    Very interesting last paragraph. Re Ford, I don’t think anyone had issues with the message, it was the image that some people thought looked too much like an ad! Thanks Lacee.

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