As I write this, we’re barely 23 days into the year of our Lord, 2015 A.D., and for some reason we’re still dealing with the perpetual facepalm that comes with posting culturally and historically insensitive material via social media.
You thought we would have learned our lesson by now, but Super Bowl hopefuls, the Seattle Seahawks, clearly didn't do their required readings when they decided to post an unfortunate tweet to their official account.
Notwithstanding the fact that it was posted on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Seahawks decided to got full tilt and attempted to equate the Civil Rights Movementto the inherent struggles that can come with playing professional football for exorbitant amounts of money.
Because basically they’re the same thing.
There we’re a few important things to be gained from this rather short-lived fiasco (they deleted the post less than a minute and a half after making it live), so I wanted to take some time and examine a few things I took away from this social media faux pas:
Because in an ideal world, overcoming racism can easily be equated to overcoming a 12-point deficit, late in a major playoff game, to clinch a Super Bowl berth, right? It’s fairly easy to look at the juxtaposition of Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson and a superimposed quote from MLK and think nothing of it., but the devil is in the details. Insinuating that winning a football game is similar to the acts of a man who essentially gave his life to help improve the human condition for millions around the world is sophomoric at best.
Keep in mind, the game in question was played and won on Sunday night, not Monday afternoon. So, if you were a diligent social media team, you’d get something similar to this up immediately following a game with such a crazy outcome, much like Oreo who nailed the timing of the great Super Bowl blackout of 2013 with a fantastic, off-the-cuff tweet.
Instead, the Seahawks decided to wait until the next afternoon, on MLK, Jr. Day, to send out that tweet. Coincidence? Well, it depends on who you ask.
Even though, between the Charlie Hebdo situation and the countless scores of culturally driven, social media mishaps that have occurred over the past few years, it’s almost impossible to still argue the idea that Seattle’s marketing team wouldn’t have known that kind of backlash would occur until after they posted the inflammatory tweet. With just 20 minutes of quick Internet research, I was able to surmise that within this post. Who knows what research Seattle could have done with 16 hours of lead time?
Bottom line: the world could use a few more media professionals, social or otherwise, who can readily identify when a post, tweet, pin or snap could be deemed unwise or downright imbecilic to certain groups; preferably before it goes live.
Not only would it save a few marketing departments some unnecessary headaches, but if done correctly, you could stand the chance to gain favor with an audience who may have never considered your product, service or brand before. Sounds like a win-win to me.