Posted by JasMollica
Wednesday, Aug. 28 was the 50th anniversary of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Dr. King’s speech in 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, looking out over the National Mall, is one of the most significant events in world history. Trailblazer Jackie Robinson was there. So were Sammy Davis, Jr. and actor Burt Lancaster, among others.
President Obama, along with former Presidents Carter and Clinton, spoke at the 2013 event at the same location Dr. King did. The events spurred discussion on Twitter, as is the norm with big events. The hashtags, “#MLK50″ and “#DreamDay” were popular, with folks sharing their dreams for a better tomorrow or equality. One of the more UNpopular tweets, however, was from the Golf Channel.
Not the finest moment for the Golf Channel’s Twitter account. I see what they were trying to do, but it didn’t work. Of course, when big events happen and people on social networks get upset, the knives come out. Is it really necessary though? Later in the day, the Golf Channel apologized for the tweet.
It is time to step back and refrain from flaming every single tweet or Facebook that is a “misstep.” On Wednesday, it was the Golf Channel. While their judgement wasn’t the best, this wasn’t the level of Gap during Hurricane Sandy or Kenneth Cole during the Egypt crisis (which was just idiotic). On Aug. 27, ABC News tweeted out that Neil Armstrong had died. Well, he’s been dead over a year. And while this was a mistake, which a number of people in my timeline noticed, I didn’t see ABC getting flamed. It was a mistake and one that may, or may not, happen again.
As PR pros, we can certainly use this as a chance to teach and not ridicule a person, company or brand. Do I think that we should give a pass to those who make blatant jokes about a serious situation or try to capitalize on a crisis with tweets or Facebook posts? Absolutely not. This is where having an experienced social media team in place really helps. Not one that is green.
Let we, as PR pros, be the ones to lead the way in setting an example of how best to use social media. It goes a long way to showing we aren’t “know-it-alls” or being quick to judge. As Dr. King said in his speech 50 years ago, “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” We’re all better by leaving the cup of bitterness alone.
Tags: ABC News, bad tweets, Dr. Martin Luther King, Facebook, Golf Channel Twitter mistake, I Have A Dream speech, Lincoln Memorial, March on Washington, MLK, National Mall, Neil Armstrong death, President Clinton, President Obama, President of the United States, public relations pros, Twitter, Washington DC