Just my two cents

Musings on social media and the world as I see it

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Another day, another tragedy?

Photo from Wikipedia.

Photo from Wikipedia.

Is it just me, or does it seem like lately we’ve been hit with one tragedy after another? Today, we awoke to the total devastation in the town of Moore, Oklahoma, after a nearly 2-mile wide tornado swept through, leaving it in total ruin.

Because I had to be at an early morning panel discussion on the use of social media, my normal routine was way off. I did not see the morning news, or tune into Twitter or Facebook first thing this morning. When I finally did get to social, I find myself asking if people are becoming immune to these tragedies.

From my streams and newsfeeds, it seems that so many people were basically sticking to their own agendas. I even looked through the tweet stream of hospitals across the country and was shocked and slightly appalled to see that many were just carrying on with business as usual.

Is it just me? Am I being overly sensitive? Am I wrong to think that we need to be a little more respectful in the social sphere and acknowledge what is going on? Is it inappropriate to step away from our self-serving agendas for even a day? I know I’ve posted about this before, right after the Boston bombings. But for some reason, it seems like less attention is being given to the countless number of victims of Mother Nature’s latest wrath in Oklahoma than tragedies in the past, and I’m not sure why.

Even my hometown paper, the Providence Journal, apparently didn’t think Oklahoma was Page One news. Seriously? This has been called one of the worst tornadoes of all time. Families lost children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles… not to mention those who were wounded, and all of their possessions gone. Of course possessions can be replaced, but people can’t.

I am saluting the amazing folks at @NormalRegional who in the midst of their own tragedy are tweeting and posting important updates to their Facebook page to help people find their loved ones, to direct moms-to-be as to where they can deliver their child, and other important information, from a hospital that was leveled, by the way.

And yet the rest of us go on tweeting about Lasik surgery (really?) and “want to make your hot body hotter?” (I kid you not.)

Maybe it is just me, but I choose to be respectful of what people are going through and put aside the company’s social media marketing efforts FOR ONE DAY in favor of supporting our fellow man. If that seems silly to you, then maybe I’m in the wrong business. (And I must add in here that I’m so grateful to have a director who is of a like mind and believes that we need to show a little respect during times of tragedy. Phew.)

But in this writer’s opinion, showing sympathy for your fellow man and trying to understand their plight during a difficult time will speak more loudly for your brand than any other tweet or Facebook post you might want to put out there. Do you agree or am I alone in this thinking?


What a week: Bomber tweets, Manhunts, and Big Papi’s F-Bomb

b_strong_blueAs I sit here on a Sunday morning with my coffee, I’m trying to make sense of one incredible week. Earlier this week I wrote about the Boston Bombing. That was the beginning of a whirlwind week, culminating on Friday with a manhunt the likes of which this country has never seen.

I, like so many Americans, sat glued to the TV all day and night Friday. It was difficult to think, even more difficult to work. To me, when you work in social media, it seems a bit trivial to conduct business as usual. I find it a little strange to be tweeting, “Don’t forget your sunscreen,” when the entire city of Boston is in a first-of-its-kind lock down and a terrorist is being hunted by thousands of officers.

So I tweeted and posted on Facebook to show our support for Boston and sent messages of hope and safety to all the officers working so hard to protect us and sharing important news and updates. While working, I had CNN on in the background, unable to tear myself away from this historical event.

During the coverage, CNN showed tweets from Suspect #2’s Twitter account. While the Twitter name was blurred out, I and other viewers were able to make it out enough to figure it out and find his account. And what a chill I got. The thought that I and anyone else interested was able to read the thoughts of a cold-blooded killer through social media just kind of, well, freaked me out!jahar tweets

To think that two days after the bombing, after killing innocent people, he actually tweeted this: “I’m a stress free kind of guy.” Wow. There were other tweets, like telling another Twitter user that a story and photo he posted about the bombing was a fake story, and another talking about buying something on the black market.

I’ve often thought that social media was a wonderful way to share information, meet people and bring people together virtually. The thought that you could read the tweets of an evil mind was just so far out of my thought process, the reality felt like a slap across the face this week.

But the good side of social media spoke loud and clear as once again social media exploded when the news of the capture came at 8:45 p.m. Friday. While as we watched people in Boston and Watertown cheering the police, the capture was confirmed by an amazing tweet from the Boston Police Department: “CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.”

Ahhh. There it is. Once again, through social media we all unite, we connect, and we know the truth, even though a lot of false information may be out there. It’s important to weed through the info and find the true facts.

The whole country was pulled together throughout the week. Yankee Fans were singing “Sweet Caroline” in Yankee Stadium (seriously??? LOL!). Boston Strong became the tagline and the hashtag that represented an entire community coming together, strong, resilient, not letting go of its freedom or its ability to return to normalcy. So much expressed in two simple words.

And so on Saturday, the Boston Red Sox took to the field. It was an amazing opening ceremony kicked off by a moving and emotional slide show accompanied by the Jeff Buckley’s version of the Leonard Cohen classic “Hallelujah.” Volunteers from the Boston Marathon took to the field, members of the Boston Police Department, the Police Commissioner, Governor Patrick and so many others. As Red Sox fans joined together to sing the National Anthem and wave their Boston Strong signs, the world came together, again, united and celebrating. I sat watching from home, with tears streaming down my face, emotional, grateful for all the work of those amazing officers who risked their lives to capture the suspect. Tears flowing down my face, with sympathy for those injured and lost, and happiness that the terror was over.

The ceremonial first pitches were tossed by heroes like the off-duty firefighter who rushed to the scene to save lives, the brother who sheltered his sisters from the blast and was injured himself, and the father who pushes his son in his wheelchair in the Marathon every year for 31 years. Heroes. And the tweets went crazy.

And then Big Papi, David Ortiz, took to the field with a microphone. And he said some wonderful words, and then he briefly summed up the entire week in two sentences And while I don’t usually swear in blog posts or on social media, this one deserves repeating: “This is our fucking city. And nobody is going to dictate our freedom.” Fenway Park simply erupted with cheers.

Well said, Papi! And while I thought he would be fined for his live television F-Bomb, I was thrilled to see this tweet from the FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski: FCC tweet

Amen! All is at it should be. We are America, we are strong, we will not be defeated. It’s too bad it takes a tragedy to bring a country together and support each other, even if social media makes it easier.

One amazing, emotional, historical week. What will you remember most from this week?