News of Sunday’s shootings at a Mother’s Day parade in New Orleans quickly became a trending topic on Twitter
, but the long-term social media response paled in comparison with the online aftermath of the April 15 bombings in Boston.
Perhaps it was the scope of the disaster in each case, or the respective responses of the two cities’ police departments.
As of Monday morning, the New Orleans police were reporting 19 injuries as a result of the act of “street violence.”
By contrast, the bombings—deemed a terrorist attack—near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon killed three people and injured more than 260 others.
Unlike the Boston Police Department, which offered a steady stream of tweets in the wake of the marathon bombing in April, New Orleans police chose Facebook
and email as its information clearinghouses, with video of potential suspects sent by email and offerings of a reward posted to Facebook. Only an “unmonitored” account
parroted email blasts on Twitter.
One Facebook commenter believed the police should have been more proactive:
“Where's our city shutdown to find these douchepickles? Get them the hell out of my neighborhood & bring in the Boston PD,” the commenter wrote.
The online response to the New Orleans shootings seems relatively subdued; by Monday morning, it had rolled to the bottom of the trending topics list. The main thread
about the shootings on Reddit—which became a hotbed of amateur sleuthing after the Boston attack—included complaints about a lack of description of the suspects, but mostly trumpeted news reports.
Even so, media organizations and social media users did post quite a bit about the incident Sunday. One user even posted this video
using Twitter’s Vine app capturing the live and chaotic reaction of crowds during the firings.
A caveat for brands
While social media posts and video played a huge role
in aiding officials with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation, this incident also warrants a reminder to brand reps, marketers, and community managers alike to practice sensitivity after such tragic occurrences.
As was the case with various reactions to Boston
, failure to provisionally alter posting schedules accordingly in the wake of such a tragedy can lead to a crisis communications fiasco. Just ask Guy Kawasaki, who was publicly scorned
in April for failing to shut down his autotweets.
As a brief guideline, PR Daily
offers these tips
from our own social media director, Samantha Hosenkamp, who reminds her social media colleagues “to act like a human being” in such instances.
Matt Wilson contributed to this story.