Last week's tragic events in Connecticut had many social media users talking about sensitivity as many brands and publications continued to share promotional content on Friday.
While my newsfeed was flooded with breaking news, updates and any information related to the horrifying school shooting, I also noticed a few brands still promoting sales, contests and giveaways. There was also the case of the NRA's extremely inappropriate tweet sent out 7 minutes after the shooter entered the school's premises that wasn't deleted until 12:15 EST, a little over two hours after the news reported about the shooting.
This might have been an accident or a pre-scheduled tweet however it seemed a bit ill-timed considering the current events. I wasn't the only one who felt this way though; I noticed a handful of social media managers and bloggers exclaim that if they saw promotional tweets, they'd immediately unfollow said brands.
PSA: If you're shamelessly promoting your outfit, your brand or your book today, you will be unfollowed.
— Felicia C. Sullivan (@felsull) December 14, 2012
It got me thinking about best practices and etiquette in social media. Where is the fine line between appropriate and inappropriate? What should a blogger and brand do when an unspeakable tragedy happens?
This isn't the first tragedy to occur where social media best practices and etiquette are put under the spotlight. When the Aurora shooting happened earlier in the year, brands who were offering discounts or promotions were slammed by certain online personalities and fans. Also, let's not forget Kenneth Cole's tweet during the Egyptian protest and American Apparel's Hurricane Sandy email blast that promoted a sale in the states that were hit the hardest during the storm.
Essentially, the main idea is that all online and social media content should be looked at through the eyes of their user. It maybe not be the time or the place for witty or sarcastic content.
For me personally, I believe that social media can be used to better the world, not just a marketing and promotional tool. This is why I found it disappointing that certain brands continued with their daily programming of content. it may seem harmless but to your reader (and consumer), it can look insensitive and selfish. I'm looking at you NRA with your tweets. However, to play devil's advocate, the day must go on, even when the most horrible of events happen.
My question to you is:
Please share your thoughts and opinion – would love to hear feedback from the community!
During a crisis, what should a blogger or brand do on social media? Continue on with normal programming or take a break? What do you think?