Social Media: Insensitivity is intentional

Sarah Rogoz, Editor-in-Chief

Daily Express, a UK tabloid, used a specific method for making sure their content received viewers on Sept. 7. After the world received the terrible news that beloved rapper Mac Miller passed away social media was bursting with condolences. One couldn’t scroll down without seeing an array of posts about Miller and those who mourn him. In the midst of these posts, one tweet was an obvious misfit.

“Mac Miller, Ariana Grande ex-boyfriend has reportedly died,” the Daily Express tweet read. The tweet was linked with their full article regarding the rapper’s death.

This was just one of many tweets certain tabloids used to create buzz around articles they have published. Within the replies were hundreds of grieving fans criticizing the tweet for being insensitive. But the tabloid got what it wanted: Buzz.

The main goal in journalism is always to spread the truth and spread it to as many people as possible. Journalists write stories that they feel need to be told and try to find an angle to personalize it to as many people as they can.

This tweet could have been used to appeal to double the fanbase. Saying “Ariana Grande’s ex-boyfriend Mac Miller”, instead of just saying Mac Miller, which isn’t as wide-reaching. In this case, Ariana Grande fans and Mac Miller fans alike are affected. However, changing that tweet to be more expansive made the chatter around the story negative for fans of Miller.

The tweet wasn’t a lie. Mac Miller was Ariana Grande’s ex-boyfriend. But nobody ever referred to him as that. He held his own title, and the only reason Daily Express used this teaser in particular was to create conflict in their favor.

Journalists shouldn’t be advertising stories in a controversial manner for the sole purpose of getting views. Instead, they should be writing the best story they possibly can and find less insensitive ways to publicize their work over social media.

However, we as readers shouldn’t be clicking on these stories. Trying to set the author straight about the issue will just draw more attention to their story. Although our hearts might be in the right place, we are falling into the trap they want us too. Instead, if we see a post that is insensitive we should scroll right past it and not give it any more attention than it should be receiving.