This post has been swirling around in my mind since Wednesday. It’s an opinion that’s been brewing for a while now, but events on Wednesday confounded it.
Let me explain..
As the atrocities in London occurred, and the horrific details started to emerge, as ever Social Media was the place to be for ‘live’ coverage. Sure, not everything is accurate, or correct – but Twitter and Facebook are incredible sources of live news. The news broke on Twitter before it hit the news outlets. Twitter is live, and about right now.
Not to bloggers sadly.
Bloggers tend to be machines, shouting about EVERYTHING, constantly. Vomiting links constantly, without context, or relevance – just to get traffic their way. Readership is King (or Queen). For so many bloggers Twitter isn’t live, or about now – it’s planned, managed, and worst of all ‘Scheduled’.
So – as the onion skin of tragedy was peeled away, my timeline was filled with news, reaction and sorrow. Oh… and fucking scheduled posts. You can forgive a few links fired out in the early minutes. Not everyone will have seen or heard the news. However, as lives were being confirmed as lost – I think it’s pretty fucking appalling to be whoring your posts. Your ‘Top Tips for better pancakes’ or ‘funny toddler tale’ looks inappropriate and trite in the same breath as terror and murder.
One particular fuckwit had a ‘Top Tips for a day out in London’ post pushed out.
I spoke to a few ‘offenders’ about this.. The excuses, were – well – appalling.
“We should carry on, business as usual”
We should, of course we should. However, it’s good to take a moment to take stock, gather our thoughts, and then carry on. Not just nod at the news and shit out more links to rubbish. This is why when a funeral procession passes, people will often pause, bow their heads and then be as they were after it passes. It’s a fleeting moment of respect, recognition, and understanding. We don’t have to all wear black and cry, but we should take a moment.
“I don’t really like Twitter – I just schedule stuff, and that’s it”
Get off Twitter then. There are enough bots and spammers already. Don’t add to it with your bullshit. Stick to networks you DO like and make good content for them.
“My blog posts might bring happiness to someone”
It might – it’s unlikely, but it might – sure. I’m not sure I’ve written a blog about bringing happiness to others. I write words. People find those words, they read them. They might stay and read more, or follow me – they might equally never read anything of mine again. That’s cool. I write for me. If people read it, bonus. We do need happiness in the dark times. I don’t think ‘Fun things to make with toilet roll’ is the happiness needed in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.
“Well I was too busy watching the news / doing the school run to switch off my scheduler”
My favourite – my absolute favourite.
Here’s a crazy thought.
Don’t fucking schedule.
This is exactly why uncontrollable auto-posting is a TERRIBLE idea. The world is a fast, and spontaneous place. You don’t know what’s around the corner. Planning your social output days, weeks, and months ahead of time isn’t always appropriate. Be spontaneous – share posts as you go and appropriate for the news of the hour. Auto posting about a great day you’ve had in London isn’t right when so many are having the worst of days there.
If you are going to schedule like a business, then at least be in control of it. Take a second to fire up a web page and hit the off switch. I’m sure there were thousands of social media managers hitting the killswitch on their schedule for a few hours as the dust settles. If you can’t control your schedule – don’t have it.
I spent most of Wednesday afternoon deleting people I follow who were clearly autoposting. I wanted my timeline clear of rubbish and irrelevance. I wanted to hear news, and see reaction – not read about your Christmas in 2014.
Of course, it wasn’t just limited to Twitter. Bloggers on Facebook were keen to push their book, and joke about how drunk they’d be once their kids were in bed. All auto-posted as the acting Police Commissioner was confirming the death toll.
I don’t like bloggers.