Social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, even texting, can give marketers, public relations managers, and leaders of organizations that ability to react quickly. Effectively? Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s explore some examples.
During times of disaster, people are compelled to give. It’s difficult for us to send food, water, clothing to disaster zones. Money is the most portable method of helping us onlookers can provide. “Mobile giving” reached new heights during the relief efforts in response to the massive earthquake in Haiti in 2010. https://goo.gl/1tHZZx
Most donations in a disaster are raised within the first few days, according to The American Red Cross. When people are “in the moment” they are willing to donate. Social media gives us the tools to act quickly.
People are ready to give when disaster strikes and it’s vital that there’s a way for people to get involved quickly. Money is the fastest and easiest way for people to help.
Many people learned of the disaster via social media, followed it via social media, and donated via social media. Anyone with a mobile phone and an account with a major wireless carrier could text “Haiti” to 90999 and make a a $10 donation. Records were broken.
A social media success story.
Then there’s the other side of the story.
On Friday, July 11, a gunman entered a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado. He shot and killed 12 people. Fifty-eight were injured in the shooting rampage.
The next morning, the National Rifle Association (NRA) tweeted this:
The Tweet was posted at 9:20 a.m. ET on Friday by an account for American Rifleman (@NRA_Rifleman), apparently, the official NRA journal. It was deleted by 12:30 p.m. ET Friday.
According to the Huffington Post, “…the tweet came from the social media management software HootSuite, which allows the pre-scheduling of tweets in 5-minute intervals.” Because this tweet was tweeted at 9:20 a.m., it is possible that it was scheduled hours in advance, before the shooting occurred.
Followers on Twitter, Facebook, do not know a pre-scheduled Tweet or post from a real-time Tweet. There is a presumption of real time. Twitter users exploded with outrage over the tweet.
An NRA spokesman told CNN, “A single individual, unaware of events in Colorado, tweeted a comment that is being completely taken out of context.” The @NRA_Rifleman account was later deleted. “All of the American Rifleman’s tweets were gone forever, and the same was true for the retweets the magazine inspired. The Twitter account had roughly 16,000 followers” according to AdWeek Magazine.
It would be more than a week before the NRA tweeted again. Social media silence. Not a real-time solution.