Horror Erupts Online from Ukraine
It’s been 27 days since Russia invaded Ukraine.
I sat horrified as I watched the headlines come across my screens. I don’t remember where I first saw it – either Twitter or TikTok I’m sure. Then I went immediately to the television to confirm that the horrors that were being presented were true.
The next few days of events were somewhat of a blur. The information coming out of Ukraine was fast and furious. News organizations were trying to be the first to get on the ground but those in Ukraine – they were the ones that were telling their stories in vivid detail.
There were constant updates from those stuck in their homes. Some trying to escape and others readying themselves to fight in this war that was brought to their doorsteps – literally.
Dulce Decorem Est
Stories of survival and triumph, others of tears and heartache. Babies being murdered, children laid out in mass graves.
Dulce decorem est came to my mind more often than once. The poem written by Wilfred Owen – the phrase means “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.” It was written in satire – there is nothing pretty about death and war.
And this time – in Ukraine we were seeing it up close and personal. Over less than 24 hours my TikTok feed went from cooking and hair tips to full-on war coverage. Every news outlet was on TikTok all of the sudden and there were updates from those living in the chaos every day.
Why this time? Why do we have such an intimate look at what is happening in this war and not the others that have happened over the past few years?
I only had one answer for these questions – social media was sharing the messages, fast and furious. This wasn’t just one post that was going viral. This was an event that immediately caught the attention of everyone around the world – or so it seems.
The messages are full of emotion – life and death are constantly in the balance. We are seeing in real-time what it is like to have a beautiful country destroyed right before our eyes. This is something that has never happened before.
Is it the Technology Available in Ukraine?
Maybe it’s because more people in Ukraine have phones. Maybe it’s because their President knows a thing or two about the media and how to ensure that his message is on point.
I’m not sure – but the one thing I am sure of is that without social media, the world would not know the atrocities that are happening. They would not be following the war diaries of some on Twitter or hoping when they get back on TikTok that the person relaying events from her flat is still alive. They would not be wearing blue and yellow or all of the sudden having sunflowers (the Ukrainian flower) all over their homes or clothing.
Each post. Each tear that is being shed online is felt by those that see it.
The Power of Social Media
Social media can tear us apart. It can be filled with hate and fear. But it is also a medium that brings us together. It is where people come to gather – to hope and to pray for a cause that they believe in. It is where we come to be informed on the “in the moment” news because the newspaper or even the news outlets on tv are too slow to capture it.
Social media is truly a SOCIAL medium and it has shown just how strong its influence is. Russia thought they would win the information war, but they did not realize how effective and swift the message can travel on social.
We know. We have seen. Share the message and continue to speak for Ukraine.
Business Tips for War Time Messaging
When this war began my team immediately looked at every message we had that was ready to go out. Did it come across as insensitive? Was it timely and should we even post?
We pulled every post the day the invasion began and then slowly added them in. Every day we need to evaluate what is happening in the war and what we are going to post and determine how the post may sound. It is paramount that as a business you do not live in a bubble.
You need to be aware of the events going on around you and adjust your posting strategy accordingly. Do you need to post about the war? No. Should you? Well, that very much depends on if you have a largely European clientele. Every country by Ukraine is being put to the test right now and you need to make the decision every day about how you will post – whether you should wade into the fray or stay apart.
You have to make the best decision you can for your business. But remember, above all else, pay attention to what is happening. Do not get lost in the day-to-day of your business and forget that real life is happening and that you need to be conscious of what you post and who you interact with. Be kind and ensure that you are respectful to those you share online space with.
Did you notice immediate changes to your feed when the war began? Have your businesses changed how they post or what they post because of it? I would love to know! Share below in the comments.
Until then – stay safe my friends.