A Comment on Social Sharing in Difficult Times
Or is it? Not to play “devil’s advocate” at a time when proverbial devils seem to be having their way with folks from Massachusetts to Texas. But I do wonder whether or not it so abhorrent to share normal life, normal things in times of communal sadness and grief?
As professionals who help consumer brands navigate the complicated social media space, we’re often called upon for counsel in times of crisis – both related to our clients and to those that affect the larger community. When the Boston Marathon tragedy struck a few days ago, our recommendation was to:
a) refrain from posting previously scheduled content if you hadn’t already, or
2) comment on the days events, simply and gently, if you felt so inclined.
As the week from hell has drudged on, piercing our collective consciousness with each new (kind of accurate) media tweet, I see a great deal of soapboxes related to the appropriateness of other folks’ content. Everything from “stop glorifying the shooter and give more attention to the victims” to “You shouldn’t be posting about your muffins at a time like this.”
But who are you to upturn the whole social sharing applecart? That is, my friends and fans have a choice as to whether or not they’d like to follow, fan or engage with me in the social space. Perhaps more importantly, as we all process and grieve the ongoing events of this week, it is quite presumptuous to assume that your moments of reverence are happening more often than or concurrent to mine.
I had a casual conversation this morning with a colleague, where we shared conflicting reports we’d found across the Internet. We exchanged our concerns for those involved, a collective groan as we came across new information, and I can say I felt sacredness in the conversation that influenced the content I began sharing across my social channels.
But down the street and across the country, perhaps you did just finish a pretty fantastic blueberry muffin recipe – and perhaps you’d like to share it. And perhaps your followers might really enjoy it; maybe they’ll make some this afternoon, when their neighbor comes over to share their sadness over lives lost. And perhaps those muffins will be quite comforting to these friends and quite disconcerting to the devils among us.