Have you used social media for sensitive situations? I have.
Facebook is my site of choice for these situations because that’s where most of my friends are.
Recently a loved one faced some significant health issues and having Facebook as a communication tool was a blessing. It gave us a way to reach many friends and acquaintances with the initial news. I also posted when there were periodic updates about progress and setbacks.
Recommendations for Using Social Media for Sensitive Situations
Call and/or email close family members and friends before putting anything on social media. You don’t want one of these folks to be blind-sided by learning of something important on social media.
Email essentially the same thing to friends and family that you post on social media. You might elaborate a bit for different folks on the specifics But using the same basic information makes it easier for you and avoids confusion. Creating separate distribution groups allows for easy tailoring of communication to each group.
Remember that everyone isn’t on Facebook (or other social sites). And, even someone who uses Facebook might not check it regularly or might miss your post.
Make sure you have the permission of the loved one to post on Facebook (or other sites). If they have not shared information already, ask them directly if it’s OK to post about what is going on.
Sometimes the loved one is unable to post, so asks you to post for them. Have them dictate to you exactly what they want to say. If they want you to say something a certain way, honor their wishes. On your own personal page, you may choose to vary the presentation. But on their page, it should be as though they wrote it themselves.
Two things to avoid: posting too often and sharing too much personal information. Give them the general outline of what is going on. If the loved one is up to communicating with folks, encourage his/her friends to reach out via Facebook messaging and/or texting. Also suggest that people can reach out to you via Facebook messaging and/or texting or calls.
If neither of you is up to it, ask a close friend or relative to handle the individual communications for you.
You don’t have to respond to every comment. It’s OK to post one comment thanking everyone for their support. When you reply individually, remember to click on the word Reply right under their comment. Then all the others who left comments won’t be notified.
How About You?
What has been your experience using social media (especially Facebook) to communicate information about sensitive situations? What do’s and don’ts do you recommend?
- By Joyce Feustel
Joyce Feustel helps people, especially those ages 45 and up, to become more comfortable using social media, especially Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter.
She works with business owners, business development professionals, leaders of nonprofit organizations, job seekers, retired people, consultants, and many others. Find her at www.boomerssocialmediatutor.com