Sunday, June 12, 2016

Auto-Tweeters: Delete Your Account

To everyone who was auto-tweeting on Sunday morning, June 12, 2016:

Delete your account.

I received hundreds of tweets that morning from brand-friendly bloggers, social media ninjas, communications experts, self-published authors, and brands trying to sell things or engage with me.

There’s nothing wrong with this, if we lived in a vacuum.

But these tweets seemed so tone deaf as the news was breaking that a gunman in Orlando had killed 50 people just hours earlier, in the worst mass shooting slaughter in American history.

Worse, some tweets seemed appallingly insensitive. Not intentionally so, but appallingly insensitive just the same.

Amazon sent a tweet advertising a “Cereal Killer” cereal bowl. An account tweeting funny lines from “The Simpsons” used a quote from Homer telling Bart, “People die all the time, just like that…”

Why weren’t these accounts silenced?

Instead of silence, the fallback for many on social media is to send a message of “thoughts and prayers” -- which at least expresses a human reaction to tragic events.

Consider the even better reaction of @TeenVogue, which tweeted a series of actions to take in response to Sunday’s violence – donating blood, researching gun legislation and voting records, volunteering at LGBTQ centers, or simply telling the people closest to you that you love them.

If the day has come that Teen Vogue is a leading media outlet in interpreting our news… just as Gawker has been a leading outlet in breaking many important stories… then marketing organizations and practitioners should realize by now that auto-tweeting isn’t enhancing your brand or engendering engagement… or contributing in any way.

Let’s put some thought and effort into this. If we can send a LinkedIn invitation that doesn’t read, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn,” we can also be more authentic in our other social media feeds.

As a start, let's take two simple steps to make the Twitterverse a better place:
  • Unfollow the three most egregious auto-tweeters in your feed.
  • Follow three people who express compassion, who attempt to provide comfort or insight, or who simply stay silent when the occasion calls for it.

Originally posted on my LinkedIn account.
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