Over the weekend, she wrote an article about the sudden increase in celebrity literature that discusses their struggle with depression. The article begins 'Are there people left standing who still believe that depression is “taboo”, and that by speaking about their own they are bravely shining a light — “just a little beam, but I do what I can” — into the darkness?' Surely you can see her point? Coinciding nicely with Christmas present buying, to have a whole bunch of celebs, some more credible than others, chucking out their 'woe me' stories does make me feel that underneath whatever mental anguish they've experienced, they are only doing it to line their pockets. It wasn't a comment about depression, it was a comment about celebrity. It's a bit boring but I suppose seeing as they aren't missing limbs or suffering from some visible ailment, they've got to have something that makes life seem just a little bit less amazing and something that we can relate to. 'Don't worry non-celebrity person, I too have had my crosses to bear.'
Statistics alone, though, show that depression isn't relegated to the celebrity sphere. It is something we can all relate to because 1 in 4 people will suffer depression and anxiety in one year. Perhaps they (the celebs) feel that by talking about it, it might help more people, that's certainly not a bad thing but to truss it up and package it under the celebrity banner makes me cringe. To be honest, I feel it's wrong. I believe I can say this because I have suffered from depression since I was 16 and 2 members of my immediate family also suffer from it. Yeah it's shit and some times are harder than others. It is most definitely hard to understand if you've not experience it but there you go.
What I think is even worse than celebrity depression stories though, is the way that Mind Charity have reacted over social media towards the article. I also believe I'm in a position to discuss this because I've set up and run charity social media pages for the past 3 years and blimey have they got this wrong. They tweeted this morning 'Today we ask
For those who are not au fait with twitter, here's what's wrong with this tweet:
- India has over 75,000 followers and Mind less than double that at 32,000. She's a respected, articulate journalist - did they really think she would take it lying down?
- In amongst the back peddling they are now doing desperately, they tweeted in response to someone, 'you're right, it went somewhere we didn't expect.' Er, are you kidding me?! They tagged her in the tweet meaning it will go straight to her. She retweeted it to her followers, who leapt to her defence.
- The tone. They might have felt her article was distasteful but so is this tweet. It's bitter and vitriolic. With only 140 letters, you have to be careful because the tone can go wrong so quickly.
- There's no link to the article. So suddenly, Mind followers will see this, get on their high horses with no idea what it's actually about. Further to that, the Sunday Times has a paywall so for the more rational social media users who want to get both sides, if they aren't subscribed then they are left even more confused.
- They misquoted her article in tweets. Unprofessional. If you're going to argue against something, at least get it right and understand what they are saying. Did they even read the article?!
- They have now deleted the tweet. Another rule - If you mess up a tweet, don't delete. Their twitter now just looks really confused and they seem even more unprofessional than before.
What they should have done:
- Write a response and posted it on their website with a full explanation of what India was saying in her article
- Then put it on social media and feel free to tag her twitter account with a friendly but firm 'we would like to suggest otherwise...' style tweet
- Put some thought into the 'campaign' don't go all guns blazing. What did they actually want to achieve from it?
- Make sure you understand what was being said in the first place
What they should do now:
- Send their digital team on some training days.
I very much hope that this episode won't have a lasting negative effect on Mind. I suspect that, like everything in the fast moving world of Twitter, it will be forgotten by the time offices are closed tonight but I do hope they - and other charities - will learn a lot from this. Like celebrities, charities aren't untouchable when it comes to criticism in this online world we live in.