QUICK READ: In the age of social media there is a huge difference between misspeaking and flat out lying just as there is a difference between knowing right from wrong. Too many brands are overreacting to people who believe that political correctness is part of a brand’s identity.
Social media greases and amplifies dramatic headlines, while more functional or nuanced information gets squashed. The more dramatic the headline the more attention it will get even if the headline is pure bullshit.
Too many brands are afraid of misspeaking on social media that they wind up apologizing for every mistake in the world for the last ten years. They beg consumers not to leave them and in the process look like wimps.
First, let me get something out of the way. The idea that consumers are going to abandon brands because they misspeak or don’t represent their values is pure garbage. Amazon.com, for example, consistently mistreats their warehouse workers and ships products in packages that not environmentally friendly yet they continue to make Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world.
Facebook continues to trample on users’ privacy yet there hasn’t been any great exodus from Facebook. But, let a brand say something that is taken as an insult and the false social media outrage makes headlines.
We need to remember that social media activism is not activism. It’s easy to go on Twitter and call out a brand for a mistake but God forbid people should actually do something about it rather than using their social media accounts.
The perfect example of just how much social media has gotten out of control is the current Coronavirus misinformation. The media loves dramatic headlines because they lead to clicks. Five people dying in California because of the virus gets clicks but the 500+ who died from the flu would even lead to action?
Brands need to stop being afraid of who they are and what they say. The phony social media outrage is just that: artificial outrage. I’m sick of people who whine via Twitter. If you’re unhappy with something, take to the streets as the masses did in the ’60s.
It’s too damn easy to outraged by typing on a keyboard rather than actually trying to be the change we want to see.