A Tenuous Link Between Digital Marketing and #CharlieHebdo

By Andrew Edwards

The tragic events in Paris this week brought the world to a standstill – but did digital marketers react as they should?

As I write this one day after the disgraceful massacre of content creators in Paris, it seems to me there really is just one subject for all of us so-called “influencers” in marketing, thought-leadership, content creation, and commentary. And that is not so much that our hearts go out to the families of murdered creatives, but that some violent simpletons figured the best response to content they didn’t like was to go out and kill the creators. Never mind on whose behalf the murderers claimed to have performed it — no deity great or small can be successfully conflated with deadly, brutal inhumanity.

If you do not believe you, as a marketer, artist, tweeter, or communicator of any kind, are now rather more under personal threat than you were during the first part of the first week of the New Year, then pull up a chair. And if you do, then you may find yourself in agreement with what I am about to say.

For, much as I believe there is just one subject today, my Twitter feed tells me otherwise, and there’s the rub.

Perhaps my feed is overripe with automated marketing messages, or maybe marketers imagine they must not step out of their personae, ever, else risk some kind of rift in the space-time-digital marketing continuum. Of course there are plenty of #jesuischarlie tags in my feed. And my personal observation is that, unlike where one might spuriously feel like they’ve done something useful by tweeting-for-a-cause, this time the subject is free expression, and therefore Twitter and all media (in fact) become the most appropriate venues for response to this outrage.

Therefore, why, on a day when you and your kind are under threat by idiots with automatic weapons (admittedly at several removes), are you tweeting me five ways to improve personalization? Is this really a day when anyone without a pillowcase over their head can be concerned with anything much else but evil doings in the City of Light? Will analytics prove you scored today with your landing page about cart-abandonment? It may, and therefore you may consider that your marketing plan — for today — is a good one.

I say it is not.

How smart is it to tweet onwards while thoughtful people the world over are consumed with not just grief but a justifiable lamentation that we are on the brink of some awful new type of censorship? Not by government, but by free-lance, deadly intimidation.

Picture yourself at your desk, trying to think of your next marketing hook. Naturally you are not drawing pictures of gods in drag or anything like that. But you cannot know who in this wide wonderful world might take offense at your pitch, or has taken offense by the company or cause you work for. Corporations can be targets, too. And these days, when social media makes every clown a potential ringmaster for a day, do you not at least squirm just a little at the thought of automatic weapons, pettiness, insanity, and the fact that twelve people employed in media were killed even as they were under armed guard?

Maybe the disregard evident in my Twitter feed is, after all, a healthy response. Maybe it makes sense to declare you’re unafraid by simply being unafraid. Last night Jon Stewart began his show (The Daily Show) with a heartfelt response to the horrors, and then announced his own tenuous segue to a story about Nazi Cows. The upshot was, they were a nasty, aggressive breed and ended up in the sausage grinder just like all the rest. And it was funny.

Maybe it’s giving too much to the killers to carp and cringe and tell everyone to be quiet just for a moment and contemplate what freedom really is, and how media of every kind is an artifact of same.


But today, it just does not feel that way. Source: ClickZ

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