Auto Tweets and Tragedy

Having spent most of my life growing up just north of Boston this tragedy has affected me on a personal level. I can’t imagine what the victims and their families are going through. I will not pretend to do so. I was lucky to not know anyone who was hurt but will continue to keep the people of my hometown in my thoughts and prayers.

Auto Tweets

Yesterday while news of the tragedy unfolded my twitter account was sending out auto tweets of great content I had found the day before. Did I spend any time at all rushing to shut off all my scheduled updates on all of my social media platforms as to not offend anyone? No, I did not. I spent that time calling friends and family and giving extra hugs and kisses to my daughter. If I was on social media it is was to search for any updates on the tragedy.

Yesterday Guy Kawasaki was blasted for sending out his normal stream of  auto tweets. Whether intentional or not that is his brand and his choice to do so. Social media is a global form of communication. If we were to not conduct business whenever there was a tragedy in the world we would never be conducting business. Some people choose to conduct their business differently when they or their audience have been affected by tragedy but once again that is their choice.

Guy Kawasaki Tweet

Did the commercials on our televisions stop yesterday? Did the ads on CNN.com disappear? Did your favorite radio host stop mentioning that local hardware store? Why do we give brands a pass on these other platforms? Is it because social media is suppose to be different?

While I don’t agree with his response of “Loving how people with less than 1,500 followers are telling me how to tweet…” I do agree that it is his choice to tweet what he likes. It’s his business.

Let’s not be so quick to judge someone on social media and lose sight of the big picture of the people who were really affected by this tragedy yesterday.

 

DJ Thistle

DJ Thistle

Co-Founder at SteamFeed
D.J. Thistle is a co-founder of SteamFeed, a blog that focuses on the latest trends in social media, technology, and marketing. His passion in technology is only rivaled by his desire to connect with others through social media. He has been a featured speaker multiple times on how to get started in social media at various wine industry events. He has spent the last 9 years teaching in public and private schools in Massachusetts and California. He is happily married and enjoys every moment of raising his beautiful daughter.
DJ Thistle
DJ Thistle

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26 Comments on "Auto Tweets and Tragedy"


Guest
Cendrine Marrouat
1 year 10 months ago

Hello DJ,

Like you, I don't think business should stop business. They should acknowledge what is happening in the most sincere and respectful way and then move on. Because at the end of the day, if they were to stop whatever they are doing every time a tragedy hits the world, they would be bankrupt in no time.

Let's not forget that 34 people died in a bomb raid in Somalia on the same day as the Boston bombings. No one talked about it. This, in itself, is very telling and annoys me much more than what Guy Kawasaki did.

Great article!

Guest
DJ Thistle
1 year 10 months ago

Cendrine,

Thanks for taking the time to comment. Again, social media is a global form of communication. Brands have the right to choose how they proceed. Obviously a brand like Epicurious (http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57579903-71/epicurious-honors-boston-on-twitter-eat-cranberry-scones/) should have taken a different approach. However, it's each brands choice how they proceed. We don't need more people complaining for the sake of complaining.

Guest
Ross Quintana
1 year 10 months ago

Yeah, I actually got a comment on a Facebook post I posted saying that it wasn't important in the time of national tragedy and we should leave the communication lines open for more important things. I told the person who I didn't know that well, that telling people how to grieve is a bad idea. Having had tough things in my own life and loss, I told her that some people close down, while others need to feel normal while they deal with it. Either way, I don't think the billions of tweets are hindered by someone posting a link to Grumpy cat.

If this is really the case then when a woman is raped ever 4 seconds everyone should shut up and stop posting. People die every second in this world of billions. If a person chooses to tweet about Boston or not tweet, or tweet to a friend that is their business and doesn't mean they aren't concerned. We don't need Tweet police because it is usually done out of ignorance anyway. They don't know if that person tweeted earlier about the tragedy and why is one tragedy and loss of life greater that others. Did people stop tweeting when my wife lost our twins, or when a my friend's son died, or when someone's wife or father died….No. Life rolled on as it always does. I am very sad for those who were hurt and pray for them.

Guest
DJ Thistle
1 year 10 months ago

Wow Ross, thanks for not only commenting but being so candid. Just like you and your wife, so sorry about that, people go through tragedy all the time.

You make a lot of great points that I wish I had thought of when I posted this. :) The amazing thing about social media is the freedom of speech. With that comes the freedom of unfollow, unfriend, uncircle, or block. We certainly do not need social media police.

Guest
Lauren Hug
1 year 10 months ago

This post caught my attention because I wrote one the same day about suspending automated tweets in the face of tragedy. Nevertheless, I agree with you that business have the right to say whatever they want. I also think it's a great point that the first instinct of normal people is probably not going to be to rush to cancel the day's tweets.

Twitter is very different from other forms of media, though … and that's why some people react so strongly to automated tweets in the face of tragedy. I blogged about it today with a shout-out to your thoughtful post. Thanks for giving me a reason to explain why I think Twitter is so unique.

Guest
DJ Thistle
1 year 10 months ago

I replied to Lauren on your blog post. If you would like to read her article you can see it here: http://www.hugspeak.com/blog/twitter-etiquette-tr...

Guest
BizAssure
1 year 10 months ago

We are glad your friends and family are safe DJ. :-)

Guest
DJ Thistle
1 year 10 months ago

Very kind of you BizAssure! I appreciate you taking the time to say that. :)

Guest
@C4Compete
1 year 10 months ago

I really have to agree with this post.

This was a HUGE shock to Boston, America and the World. People deal with shock differently. There is no right way or no wrong way to deal with shock. Some people felt that by turning off their auto-posts was a sign or respect, to show that this mattered. That is not to say those who didn't turn their auto-posts off, like Guy were in the wrong. I can see why Guy was irritated by being told what to do. It's like being told how to grieve when the only person who knows what is best for you is you. Everyone has a choice and it is up to each person to make the choice that suits them – not for everyone else to dictate how they should and shouldn't behave.
However, I think what really annoyed a lot of people was the fact he was putting down the little guys who fill his pockets- not very 'enchanting.' It was a bit like a humble brag and it came across as very rude whether it was intended or otherwise.

I guess another perspective is that a lot of businesses spent their day talking about how upset they were about this tragedy. I think everyone was upset and it is right to offer thoughts and prayers to those affected but spending the day posting about it, writing blog posts for it or worse having promoted posts that have 'thinking of Boston' with a 'like my page' underneath can be regarded as disrespectful too. It's not about the business, it's about the families who really do have something to be sad about and the people there who witnessed this horrific incident.

Keri makes some good points though, Social Media is still forming rules and can't really be categorised alongside the traditional forms of Marketing. There is an issue of business ethics and social responsibility but once again, it's up to that person or that business to decide what is deemed appropriate.

Guest
DJ Thistle
1 year 10 months ago

Thanks for taking the time to write a comment Chloe. :) You and I are on the same page here.