Scott Kleinberg, social media editor with the Chicago Tribune, posted on Google+:
Never do this. No matter how good your intentions, it never, ever looks genuine. The number of likes have nothing to do with support. Tell the story as is and move on. This goes for any story that involves a tragedy.He was referring to the horrific derailment of a train in Spain recently and to ABC 7 Chicago in particular for posting this on their page:
"Like" to send thoughts and prayers to victims of the crash!Chicagoist and Social News Daily reported on the tragedy, the faux pas, and the ensuing criticism.
It looks to be a terrible misstep by ABC 7 Chicago, and I'm glad the page administrator relented and pulled the post.
But, to me, the larger issue is this: "Like" is a simple but clever concept that, as with a lot of things on Facebook, millions of us flocked to. It was then used to bolster advertising: e.g., If your friends liked some product, you were more likely to buy it (apparently). Actually Facebook was more clever than that, because it attempted to get you to like that product, too, then (I imagine) they'd use your Like to ramp up the ad campaign.
In time, Like became too casually-used and maybe even exploited. I think it's outlived its usefulness, but we don't really have alternatives to capture a wider range of moods, preferences or attitudes as simply and easily as Like does.
Whenever someone posts on a crime, tragedy or catastrophe, I don't click Like but may just comment on it. Still some of these posts garner quite a lot of Likes anyway. Maybe it's people's way of thanking that person for sharing it. Maybe it's an expression of outrage, disappointment or sadness. Or maybe it's something else altogether, we don't know about, that's been conveniently reduced to a simple Like.
Your points are very well-taken, Scott. Asking for Likes is a disingenuous thing, and who knows how much of it is really a show of support. But aside from the faux pas of ABC 7 Chicago in this case, I'd still like to give them the benefit of the doubt. Aside from that one word, their request was in fact for us "to send thoughts and prayers to the victims of the crash!"
May God bless everyone on that horrific crash, and may those who lost their lives rest in peace!
I agree with everything you said, +Ron Villejo, but there is a larger issue kind of hidden among all the other stuff. The word like aside, a news organization has no place asking people to send prayers. It's not a function of the media to do so. While I have no doubt they had good intentions, this should be a valuable lesson in realizing that most times the best thing you can do as a page administrator is post and move on.Ah, I see. So it's protocol, then, for news organizations not to ask for prayers? I suppose that makes sense, given the diversity of faiths and beliefs among people.
That is correct, +Ron Villejo, but it's not just prayers. It's any overstepping into a story. News orgs should report facts only.Thank you for your note, Scott!
Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!
Ron Villejo, PhD