You don’t have to engage

No means no

Social media birthed a cult of engagement.

The engagement cult believes that no matter what, you need to respond to the mentions of your brand on social media.

  • Have a comment? Better respond to it.
  • Unfounded customer complaint on Twitter? Better answer it.
  • Shitty product review? Better acknowledge it.

And so on.

The problems of the world will be solved if we simply engage them head on with a half-hearted line of text.

But this isn’t true.

For many brands, the sheer volume of mentions across media, both social and otherwise, is just too much for them to respond to in any kind of reasonable fashion.

Other companies operate in a regulated industry. For them, they are extremely limited in what they can, and cannot say.

Imagine this: Someone is accusing your company of murder. But because of regulations, you can’t share any details of the situation with the accuser. What do you do?

The answers suddenly aren’t so simple.

And that’s where the cult of engagement falls apart. You can’t just acknowledge every problem away. Or sometimes, even when you do engage, you can’t solve every problem. Not everyone will be happy just because they got another reply on Twitter.

I believe in the power of the publisher. I believe that power carries responsibility.

But I don’t believe that communication solves every problem.

Acknowledgement is the first step. Dialogue follows that. But action is what truly solves problems.

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