I’m in charge of social media in my office, and occasionally get tips from less technologically adept coworkers that I try to implement without letting my eye twitch too much.
For example, today, when I posted an article about how our university is attempting to make gay athletes feel more welcome, Hollywood Coworker told me to “tread very lightly when you post LGBT stuff” because the parents who visit our page are not all as “advanced” as we are on the topic.
I could tell she assumed this would turn into a disagreement (as her suggestions about what to do with social media often do), so I used my most soothing voice, and said something like, “Well, we can’t cater to every opinion, and even if we could, our job is to inform them about the university. This is happening right now. It’s a fact.” Her hands came up in a ‘don’t get me started’ fashion, because we both strongly support the LGBT community, so she thought I was preaching to the choir. But I wasn’t, because the topic wasn’t about the LGBT community, it was about deciding whether or not we would do our jobs right, or be cowards. She honestly believes that I should watch what I post about the LGBT community, especially anything demonstrating support of said community. Why? Because it might offend some parents. As if our job is to:
1) Cater to bigots
2) Lie by omission about university policies
3) Neglect to inform the other parents for fear of offending a few
4) Any of the a-fucking-bove.
This is an amazing university. I’m proud to have gone here, and delighted to be working here. So I’m left wondering: What does Hollywood Coworker think our social media is there for, if not to inform our constituency? If there’s a bombing on campus, we’d post about that too because our job is information distribution, not whatever-makes-you-comfortable distribution. Remember that newspaper that published an article about the first gay marriage in a small community, and caught all kinds of grief for it? The owner of that paper wrote a great reply to all the negative feedback: “The job of a community newspaper is not pretending something didn’t take place or ignoring it because it will upset people.”
This bothered me quite a bit, so I mentioned to Little Mole Boss that I had published this article, and she winced. I asked why she had that reaction, and she said that some parents are prejudiced. So I asked, “So should we not inform parents because some people might be offended?”
Little Mole Boss: “No, let’s just see what the reaction is.”
me: “Ok… I just want to make sure we’re not avoiding posting stuff because some people don’t like it. We’re not posting opinions, these are facts. Our page doesn’t have an LGBT agenda…”
“I know, of course of course…”
“So what’s our policy on this?”
“We don’t have one.”
“I guess if it’s already up, it’s up. Let’s just see what the reaction is.”
“Ok, sounds good.”
So there’s some work to be done in the “do the right thing without being a big fucking baby about it” department.
So I’ll keep working on it.