Social Media: To include or not to include?

Diversity has been a hot topic for our country, especially this last year. We are working as a country to embrace those who are different, without making them feel singled out. Finding a good balance for having diversity in our PR and social media efforts are something that many of the major PR firms are currently struggling with. As one article mention, diversity has to start at the top and trickle down, but social media is beginning to be a force for change.

Social media platforms are actively working on making it safer for people to speak out of diversity and other topics. During the last presidential election, it was noticeable that there was nowhere that allowed safe speech without the fear of backlash. Twitter provided a whole training on this topic in 2016. They pledged to help users of Twitter actively promote diversity, and open dialogues safely and securely without having fear of backlash. As just one platform leading the way, they are helping to create a safe digital space.

As one PRSSA article mentioned, diversity often meant that only someone of that race or ethnic background could lead a campaign, because only they could understand the diversity issue surround those people. That’s just one PR firms aren’t understanding and embracing diversity fully. Another one comes from the advertisements used on social media. PR excluded many people by choosing only caucasian people to reflect in their advertisements. Embracing multicultural people in each ad campaign can open the doors for inclusion.

Social media can be a tool of diversity and inclusion, though it may not be perfect. We’re trying to actively transition our social media platforms to be more welcoming of those who are different. Twitter is one of the platforms leading this charge. The number of inclusive and diversity positive hashtags that have been promoted by Twitter shows that people can come together on a social platform to support each other, and make everyone feel welcome in the conversation. Hashtags such as #IStandWithAhmed, #GayTurtle, #AllLivesMatter were popular and trending campaigns on Twitter that millions were able to engage with.

As we move forward, diversity and inclusion will always be sensitive topics. PR professionals need to have a clear understanding of how these factor into the brand they are working with, and how they can leverage their brand’s platform in a way that welcomes everyone to join in the conversation. Diversity isn’t a one and done issue, PR professionals will have to keep actively staying on the topic of the discussion, and finding ways to use language that will allow the conversation to continue.

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