“Brands who automate too much risk appearing cold and inhuman, and can potentially lose followers and opportunities for engagement.” – Mike Allton
The other day, I read an article berating Guy Kawasaki for his behavior on Twitter after the Boston Marathon bombings. Steve Crescenzo, the author, was very angry at the former Apple evangelist for robo-tweeting and disrespecting his audience (without apologizing afterwards):
Loving how people with less than 1,500 followers are telling me how to tweet…
— Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki) April 15, 2013
I understand where the author is coming from. However, the tone of his article and personal behavior on Twitter (he insulted Guy publicly) raise important questions about the way we use social media in times of tragedy — and handle our emotions in general.
Should Guy Kawasaki have stopped tweeting because of the events in Boston? No. Why? Because it is exactly what the perpetrators of this crime wanted. Their goal was to trigger sadness and outrage. They wanted us to stop in our tracks and wallow in self-pity. And in that sense, they won big time.
It is obvious that Guy should have been a little more thoughtful or at least apologized. However, he did not delete the bad Tweet. Actually, he even invited people to contact him to explain his side of the story. I know, because he sent me a DM with his phone number.
So, I do not agree with the idea of turning him into Public Enemy #1 because he had the guts to voice the thought of many.
And as Jennifer Herndon says:
“No one faulted McDonald’s for not calling the tv stations and asking them to pull their ads for the day. No one criticized the grocery stores for remaining open, and continuing to do business as usual without so much as even pausing for a moment of silence. In continuing his scheduled tweeting, I don’t see how Guy did anything different than any of those millions of other businesses did.”
Brands definitely have the obligation to acknowledge tragedies, because they affect their audiences. But demanding that they take a day off is not the way to go. It has nothing to do with selfishness or a lack of respect for victims. It is about nipping negativity in the bud.
It is your choice to conduct business as usual when you feel the need to do so. Just make sure not to let automation be your downfall.
Your audience wants to know that the content and information you share comes from a human being, not a machine.
So, if it is time you lack, rethink your priorities. Do less, but make this less more impactful.