The above tweet should make you cringe. It did me. A friend in an online networking posted this tweet by the Golf Channel. Today marks a very important day in US history, it has been 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King made his famous “I have a dream” speech from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC where he addressed social injustice and inequality. Dr. King’s speech had a profound effect on the course of history for many Americans.
I’ll be honest it is very disappointing to me to read this tweet using the hashtag, #dreamday, for a large brand. The tweet, which has since been deleted, above shows a lack of understanding of US history and the meaning of the day to millions of Americans. While this isn’t an emergency situation or natural disaster, today is not a trivial day. Not a day for “newsjacking.”
To Golf Channel’s credit, they did issue an apology about six hours after the original tweet and they did realize it was inappropriate and being flippant regarding this day in history. But wouldn’t have it been great if the original tweet had not gone out?
“Newsjacking” is not encouraged and will damage an organization’s reputation. It makes them look disconnected. If an organization isn’t involved with say with social justice or civil rights and doesn’t have that history, it may not be wise to use the hashtag #dreamday. It is meaningless and comes across as clueless. Even organizations which have a history and connection, need to be careful. A historical event and/or hashtag need to fit with the organizations mission and actions.
It is a fine line between providing sharing the moment as an organization and missing the mark with shameless promotion. Think before attaching your organization to an event and/or hashtag. Understand the tone of the situation. Then tweet appropriately.
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