The number one rule in social media marketing is “post consistently.” We normally advise our company channels and clients to follow this rule without exception, but on Sunday and again Monday, we took all the channels we manage dark. We shared one piece of content: a beautiful graphic calling for more love in the world and expressing deep sympathy.

We aren’t the only ones. Brands and thought leaders around the world were dark Sunday, after the tragic shooting in Orlando, Florida. Buffer, a content management system, made pausing content easy for social media managers within minutes of the shooting rampage in Paris in November, and this past weekend, we used the tool’s “pause” feature to modify our posting schedules.

At times of tragedy, we modify our schedules for many reasons. We want to honor those who died. Messages selling something, even if it’s just an idea, aren’t appropriate in the grieving space. We want to honor the families grappling with heartbreak. We want to take space to process our own grief.

While those of us who work in social media like to think of it as a forum for ideas, it’s also very true that social media helps foment the type of ignorance and hatred that sparks shootings like the one in Orlando. Anonymous people, hiding behind Twitter handles and Facebook pages, spew hate, filth, and garbage daily. They attack strangers. Social media has become an incubator for the worst in us.

Taking branded pages dark won’t change that. The responsibility for change rests with each of us. That means, instead of unleashing vitriol about guns, politics, religion, or sexual orientation, we enter into conversations to try to truly understand each other and our differences. It means when someone is being abusive on social channels, we report them. It means no longer tolerating hate language of any kind. It means using the power of connecting with people across the globe for the greater good, for deeper knowledge and understanding, to expand our worlds, and not to find festering haters who will feed our anger and fear.

It means being better than we have been. It means spreading more love and less hate. Every day. With every post and tweet.



Feature Image Credit: 123rf/Captain Vector