Trump may have won his presidential campaign with an emphasis on ending Political Correctness, but much of the nation remains divided. Taking offense has become trendy, and Millennials are scrutinized for being the worst PC police. As a result, the media straddles a fine line between buzzworthy, boundary-pushing content and its equally buzzworthy yet crucifying counterpart: the “over-the-line.”
While PC may have been born as a well-intentioned effort at inclusion and respectfulness, it poses pivotal problems for the media from both its critics and supporters. Critics of PC are quick to dismiss sensitivity as threats to free speech or cultural sophistication. Advocates, on the other hand, are even to quicker to declare war, clinging to the absoluteness of bigotry and equality.
Both result in public outrage and are made increasingly visible – and virtually unavoidable – by social media.
The widespread and bullet-like immediacy of social media render is both a PR agency’s greatest tool and an invisible threat. It is therefore our job as a social media agency to be extra careful with the presentation of content, however kid-friendly it may seem. You may have heard that there’s “no such thing as bad publicity,” but don’t be mistaken; there is definitely bad PR.
In a recent example, comedian Kathy Griffin faced seemingly irreversible career damage following a public outrage over the posting of disturbing photos. Her resulting apology mirrored the struggle of comedians and media personalities alike: “I am a comic, I crossed the line. I move the line, and then I cross it.”
Controversy may be a media magnet, but it’s a slippery slope. How far is too far, and when is it best to avoid a topic altogether?
It all boils down to the big question: Is it better to be safe than sorry? As an individual, maybe not – but as a client-based agency, I’m going to go with absolutely.