Responding To Social Issues As a Social Media Manager

Written By Erielle Tolentino

The Hatch Duo Mission

Here at Hatch Duo, we believe in the idea of designing for a better future, and our idea of a ‘better future’ is one in which people of all backgrounds are treated equally and fairly. Hatch Duo was designed to represent a culmination of business and design values, as well as personal morals and principles. This is why we as a company have taken a firm stance to support the Black Lives Matter Movement: we have not and never will tolerate racism or hatred in any aspect of our lives.

Understanding Privilege

In response to our world’s current events, the past few weeks have prompted many uncomfortable, but necessary conversations, both in a personal and professional sense. To be completely honest, social media has been exhausting, but I’m sure that many people can relate to the fact that it has been extremely difficult to look away. For many years now, the black community has cried out for help, and it has taken this “perfect storm” of COVID-19, unemployment, and protests to finally awaken us as a society, and address the social issues such as racial injustice (or racism in general) that have been present essentially for centuries now. This in itself only proves that those of us who are not black, are privileged simply because we can choose whether or not we address them.

How Do You Want To Use Your Platform?

Many have benefited from black culture (myself included), and I couldn’t imagine not speaking up. However, as a Digital Marketing/Social Media manager for multiple companies, how does one with such strong beliefs address this to the company (or companies) they represent?

This is where the first step comes into play: communication, and lots of it. One “deep conversation” will never be enough, especially when it comes to race. This is an ongoing opportunity for education, compassion, and empathy. As a company, take the time to learn about each other’s core values and beliefs. Be an active listener, and acknowledge that there may be varying opinions of current events. Transparency is key. 

Needless to say, but the CEO’s and/or Founders of the companies must be present in these conversations. After all, their beliefs and personal values play a large influence in the workplace and become an extension of company culture. This way, the company as a whole can take a stance on how/when/if they want to address these issues. In a “perfect world,” the hope is that CEO’s and founders share the same beliefs or values as you do, and would want to speak up in circumstances of racial injustice. If not, think about it this way: knowing innocent people of the black community are constantly the victims of police brutality, are you going to use your platform (no matter how large or small), to speak up about these injustices, or will you sit idly by?

In a historic sense, racism and social injustices have been present far too long, and this has posed a harsh realization: given the acknowledgment of this country’s history, why is it that we are all only speaking up now? Although most are afraid to admit it, this global pandemic/unemployment period has been sort of a “blessing in disguise,” has forced us to finally pay attention, and open a much-needed conversation. We have realized that remaining silent will not contribute to the change that we seek. Silence should no longer be an option. There is no doubt that 2020 will be written about in history books, and we strive to play a role in designing a future that is rooted in equality and inclusion for all. 

The Cancel Culture

If there is anything prevalent on social media, specifically in more recent times, it is that the “cancel culture” is alive and well. On Twitter, there have been threads of companies who have not spoken up regarding racism, and customers are being very vocal and actively choosing not to support them any further. Now, this is not to say that companies that do post are only doing so to avoid “being cancelled,” but as a social media manager, you can always tell which ones are doing this simply because it’s the ‘popular’ thing to do, rather than a representation of the company’s beliefs.

For example, “Blackout Tuesday,” which was meant to express solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement, has given others the impression that it’s “okay” to do the bare minimum when innocent people’s lives are at stake. This can no longer be the norm if we ever want to create positive social change. If you can boldly post a black square and express that Black Lives Matter, you can surely continue the conversation amongst your platform, and understand what role your company can play in acknowledging and actively supporting the social issues at hand. 

Ultimately, we believe that you should use your voice if you are going to post about social issues, take a firm stance, and provide your audience with ways in which they can play a role in being an active ally. This said, make sure these are ways you are being active as well. Don’t post about signing petitions if you haven’t done so yourself. Talk the talk and walk the walk.

Understanding Your Role

We are continuing to discuss and understand the ways in which we can actively play a role in designing a better, more positive future. We wanted to strongly address our stance, and we will continue to move forward by empathizing, educating ourselves, and learning how we can continue contributing to change even long after protests. Designers/creatives have an opportunity to positively impact society as we know it. We’ve seen it through the “Black Lives Matter” murals all over the country, infographics, and social media posts that spread information on ways we can all be involved. 

We have recently donated to the following organizations and fundraisers, and encourage you to do the same: George Floyd Memorial Fund, Bay Area Black Businesses Relief Fund, Black Lives Matter Fund, Campaign Zero, and The Marshall Project. Donate if possible, sign petitions, call/text your county representatives, and register to vote! Black lives have always mattered, and they always will matter. Let us all play a part in positive social change. Click the links below to find the many ways you can help.

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