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Autotweets Are Not Comparable to TV or Radio Ads

There’s a debate over autotweets or scheduled tweets during times of tragedy

This post kicked it off: Guy Kawasaki is too ‘popular’ to stop autotweets during Boston bombings.

This post reinforced the point, with kinder language, but with words that bite: A Letter To Those Of You With 1,500 Twitter Followers Or Fewer.

And we’re off.  Knockdown.  Drag out.  Online scrap.  It’s not productive.

“While the news about the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon was just being broken, and for several hours afterward, most companies shut down their promotional efforts on Twitter and other social media.

Most people and organizations rightly came to the conclusion that to continue to hawk their wares while a national tragedy was unfolding (and people were using Twitter to get and exchange news) was a little insensitive, to say the least.”

Most brands stopped.

Then the counterpoints started.

This post was an intelligent argument: Auto Tweets and Tragedy which says pointedly:

“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.”

Another good post that makes a credible argument is this one, The Perfect Tweet, which points out there are dozens of crises every day around the world and life goes on.

Finally, a third one that jumped out at me was this one, posted on the soon to be defunct PosterousAutotweeting During A Crisis:

“The whole ‘suspend your social marketing during a crisis’ judgmentathon is a complicated mess.”

Agreed, no argument there. But the next point is this:

“Do we expect brands to be able, on a dime, to stop their TV ads? Radio spots? Print ads? Events?”

Maybe not.

But advertising has unlucky and unintentional failures every day.  Ads are coordinated well in advance and cannot be undone with the click of a mouse.  Social media is different because breaking news happens on Twitter and often long before the mainstream media starts reporting it.

The affected region immediately tunes into social media specifically to find the information they cannot get elsewhere. Don’t be that person that clutters up streams with promotions during a time of tragedy.

Corporate brands should tread carefully. Stay quiet. Observe. Listen. If you want to help, do it, but don’t brag about it.

If you keep up the promotion in a crisis, be prepared for criticism. Either way, it’s a distraction. Silence at least keeps people from disliking you later when the dust settles.

Be a role model. Be a leader.  Do the right thing.

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Imaged credit: Unsplash

Post updated 3/22/2020

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