When international or national tragedy strikes, should you still continue to post on social media? Or should you postpone your content until a later date? Today, as the founder of Minnirella, I want to share with you what I’ve learned throughout my 14 years working in the blogging and magazine industries, plus a personal experience that landed me in an uncomfortable situation…
In the wake of last Thursday’s news, on September 8th 2022, upon learning of the loss of Her Majesty The Queen, I’ve once again observed a hasty pattern of cancelled events and postponed publications. It’s difficult to know what to post and when during periods of tragedy and strong emotion. Over the last 14 years of working in publishing and running my own magazines, I’ve picked up a few useful tips along the way. If you’re unsure of what to post, so as not to offend anybody or appear disrespectful or perhaps you’re confused about when you should begin to post online again, I hope these few tips and guidelines help you. Nobody is perfect and this isn’t about denying you the right to free speech or posting your thoughts online. That said, if you are a content creator or a business that uses social media marketing or has an online presence, I strongly advise you to think carefully about the marketing language and content you post during this time.
Should You Reschedule Your Posts During Periods of National Mourning or Turmoil?
It costs nothing in this world to show a little respect and to be kind to each other. That’s why, although I am writing this from a business perspective, it really is aimed at everyone. Before I talk you through my own personal experience with this, an uncomfortable mistake that resulted in a lot of negative comments, let’s take a look at some examples of general rules that professional online businesses and bloggers tend to follow.
Examples of National and International Tragedy to be Mindful of
To clarify, national or international turmoil could be any of the following:
- The death of a much-loved public figure
- Political conflict
- Terrorism attacks
- Natural disasters, such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires…
- Any other event that negatively affects the lives of people on a national or international scale.
In my early years of working in the industry, I was taught to pay close attention to publishing any type of sensitive content in times of political issues, natural disasters or global mourning.
Whether or not you feel connected to the cause is irrelevant. Despite knowing this and complying with this rule, I have a very unfortunate personal story that I want to share today.
Examples of sensitive content include:
•Sharing travel itineraries of destinations that have become affected by terrorism, natural disasters, attacks, etc.
•Unpopular opinions of global figures who have recently died.
•Insensitive sales content that might appear as though you're trying to profit off the back of tragic circumstances.
How the Pandemic Affected Social Media Posts
Remembering back to the beginning of the pandemic there was a brief debate, among some of the business owners I follow and speak with online, about whether or not we should be continuing to post anything related to our own positive business growth or sales-related. Initially in those early days of lockdown, it just didn’t seem right to be posting about how much we’re loving our work, running our own businesses or promoting sales content when so many people around the world had lots their jobs, loved ones and were really struggling. On the other hand, none of us could have predicted the events to come or the fact that the pandemic had major implications on the way we went about our daily lives for so long. Subsequently, if you were in the position where you could work throughout lockdown, your business was doing ok and you hadn’t lost your job then it seemed more respectful to make good use of your position and be appreciative of what you have. In the end, social media became the new meeting place/the new restaurant/the new cafe/the new gym, where we could all hang out, talk, have fun and keep each other’s spirits up.
The days of Covid-19 lockdowns were like nothing we’d ever experienced before, so we can’t really compare those times to the emotional events we’ve heard in the news prior to or afterwards.
I Learned a Powerful Lesson the Hard Way!
Several years ago, I had recently partnered with a well known fashion brand on behalf of our magazine. I went ahead and published the article on the agreed (with the brand) publication date. The first article in the series was published first thing that morning, little did I know that the founder and CEO of the brand had committed suicide the night before in America! It was huge news and although the brand's name (also the name of the founder) was a trending topic on social media, it was not for the reasons I had hoped.
The backlash came in fast and hard. I began receiving comments about how "insensitive it was for our magazine to try to profit from this tragedy!" That's when I discovered what had happened and I felt terrible! Obviously I deleted all related posts and we rescheduled the publication dates. Of course, had I have known, I wouldn't have published anything in the first place. I'm not alone in this, I have travel editor friends who have published travel itineraries for destinations before learning that they have suddenly suffered severe bombing or natural disasters. This is so important for all content creators to know and understand and extremely relevant right now!
Although some businesses and individuals I’ve spoken with have informed me that they will pause posting and reschedule them for 7-10 days from now, which will fall just after the funeral, nobody is saying not to post at all. Just be mindful of posting anything that could be misinterpreted and double check any scheduled posts you have lined up to go out.