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Don't Put Your Listening Skills on Autopilot
By: Christine Geraci
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Last week, my Twitter feed overflowed with Boston Marathon news, commentary, and well-wishes for hospitalized victims. And then, there was this trickle of irrelevance: Random tweets about making money from blogs and content marketing solutions and "check out my new hair!" 
 
It was awkward at best. 

Unlike some of the other people I follow, I did not call anyone out directly. But I supported them voicing their displeasure, and here's why:
 
Some of those people might not have been paying attention.
 
Let's face it: Unfortunately, terror and tragedy happen every day in this world. If the rest of the world stopped for every tragedy...life would cease. What's more, tragedy means different things to different people. So, as Mark Schaefer rightfully asks in this blog post, what is the social media code of conduct?
 
After the Boston Marathon bombings, I chose to suspend the tweets I had pre-scheduled for the account that I manage, because we had some indirect, but important, ties to some people who had attended the marathon. I moved the irrelevant tweets out a day, and instead tweeted information related to the bombings and their connections to those people. 
 
Likewise, I didn't tweet much not related to the bombings on my personal account for a day or so, because I felt for the victims and soaked up the news coverage as a journalist. 
 
The "code" people must follow via social media during a crisis is going to be different for everyone, because in the end, I think it's about striking the appropriate balance between what's important to you, and what's important to your audience.
 
If you're not listening, if you're not checking in, if you're not really reading the tweets in your feed, how are you going to know whether or not your pre-scheduled tweets are even going to resonate? How can you possibly be authentic?
 
It's OK to pre-schedule some tweets. But it's not OK to put your listening skills on autopilot. 


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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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