I’ve never been a political activist at all–or even someone who paid attention to politics at all. Hell, until a few years ago, I rarely voted because I just thought the whole thing was a game in which my personal vote had little or no meaning so why bother. Watching House of Cards was about as politically-interested as I got, because it seemed like about as realistic a portrayal of politics as any–an insiders game of power and corruption and Washington, DC intrigue.
Fast forward to now. I’ve spent the past few months reeling like the rest of the world. Over the past 10 days, I’ve gone from “this should be interesting” to utter disbelief and honestly, pretty much just terror, that what I initially thought were just alarmist worryings are actually unfolding before our eyes seemingly each hour of each day. I’m trying to keep an even keel and not buy into hype or unwarranted mass hysteria…but I don’t know how else to classify what’s happening in the so-called greatest country on Earth this past week in particular. Censorship. Hatred. Illegal discrimination. Honestly, how is this America in 2017?
A US soldier was killed today in Yemen. Three wounded.
This is our President’s first tweet of the day. https://t.co/zzuOygVW2g
— Peter Ubertaccio (@ProfessorU) January 29, 2017
And if world events don’t have you reeling enough, if you’re in the communications field or, more interesting yet, social media, that whole landscape has also changed in a matter of months. The POTUS Twitter account retweeting Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account? That’s a thing in the business and gov’t world now? Apparently only for Trump; other federal social media accounts are having to resort to rogue accounts because the man who takes to Twitter all day, every day with divisive ALL CAPS!! tweets spewing accusations about FAKE NEWS FAKE NEWS FAKE NEWS wants “tighter controls” on government social media accounts. Of course there’s even a rogue POTUS account. Important sections of government websites are disappearing–you know, like the judicial branch of the White House site, the climate change pages on the EPA site–nbd. Sigh. I could go on and on but I’ll stop before I drive myself and you crazy.
What does all this mean for business as usual? Both in the sense of each of us going to work every day and doing what we’re supposed to do, the way we’ve been doing it while every hour seems to bring a new coup or level of crazy and also realizing that, especially for those in communications roles, business as usual now comes with a risk of coming across as tone deaf and silence can be construed as complicity. Not to mention the pace of communications and the speed with which new information is being spread–how does and will this impact the information cycle our customers or members are quickly becoming used to? And how will brand perception change for those brands or organizations that either by virtue of the nature of their business have to continue to act as if nothing is different or out of fear of coming across as partisan or too political decide to just take a pass on acknowledging what’s happening all around us? How will this constant flood of new information via social media sites and mainstream media impact those of us who are already oversaturated with information? So.many.questions.
I could go on and on and on but will digress for now. But yikes. Please feel free to share any words of wisdom, advice, links to other viewpoints….because at least we still have blogs and free speech, and I’m going to try to make an effort to make this blog a productive space amidst the chaos