So much for a quiet rainy day. A little bit ago, I stumbled upon this gem on Twitter.
Normally, I’d probably just shake my head at the ignorance and move on instead of engaging in a flamewar. But then, I remembered this:
See that part about “Creative Director at Colourlovers”? Whomp. Whomp.
Colourlovers is a site where I used to go for color palette inspiration, to look at color trends, and fab software- I bought their Seamless Studio program and their ColorSchemer program for work. If you use twitter, you might even use Themeleon (which I did until today), to customize a patterned background for your profile.
So when I saw that Shaun, their Creative Director, had tweeted this, I felt pretty strongly about telling both him and ColourLovers that I wouldn’t be using the site any more. My feelings on the matter are this: if I am AWARE of a company’s politics/policies (this includes beliefs advertised by the companies’ higher-ups, like Moynihan, in my opinion)- and I disagree vehemently with them, I’m going to do everything in my power to avoid giving that company more money. For example, I think that Dov Charney, CEO of American Apparel, is a skeezy mcskeezerson. As a result, I don’t buy anything from AA. Easy.
Here are the screenshots of my initial response to Shaun, and the resulting tweets:
So here’s my take on the whole thing:
1) If you say in your social media profiles that you hold x,y,z position at Company A, you’re acting as a representative of that company. While your comments might not accurately reflect the company’s beliefs, by virtue of adding your job title to part of your biography, you– the employee/ceo/creative director– actively bring the company into the matter.
2) Social media is out there for EVERYONE to see. When you tweet something as divisive as a statement asking how women who’ve had abortions can live with themselves… that’s out there… and saved by the Library of Congress, in case you were wondering. Obviously in this case, Shaun knew exactly what he was doing when he sent that tweet.
Combine these two things, and you have the potential for a “perfect social media storm.” Much like the case of The Bloggess and the epic PR fail, Shaun was speaking as himself, but as a representative of ColourLovers. Because of that, I’ve blocked Shaun (and his nasty supporter) and will not be going to the ColourLovers site any time soon. I’ve also changed my background– no more themeleon– and, sadly, will be looking for alternatives to their programs.
Really, politics aside, it’s a matter of businesses — and their employees– on social media, and what happens as a result of associating yourself with a brand (or aligning your brand with various viewpoints). You have a right to your opinions. I have a right to mine. But I also have the right to choose not to patronize your business, visit your website, or buy your products, if I come across things that your business says/does that I disagree with so strongly.
So peace out, CL & crew. From now on, I’ll be sticking to Design-Seeds (who’s got a FAB redesign, btw) for color inspiration, and I’m working on a custom Twitter background tonight. Definitely would love to hear your sources for color palette and pattern inspiration too! If anyone is interested in your own branded backgrounds or developing a better alternative to themeleon? Let me know- I’d be down. Most importantly though, is if you’re going to say stuff that’s judgmental (yes, the way he phrased that DEFINITELY was) and divisive? Be prepared for the fallout. Especially on social media.
Edit: This is the response I got from the creator of Colourlovers; he also commented below. Thoughts?
EDIT P2: for the record, I’ve since gone back to using Colourlovers. Shaun no longer works there — for whatever reason — and I feel that I can support the company again as they/their employees aren’t espousing hateful beliefs. That’s really what it came down to. Darius was also fabulous in addressing and diffusing the situation quickly, so kudos on really rocking the social media customer service. To those of you sending me nastygrams about how dare I suppress their freedom of speech by disagreeing and boycotting– where were you when people were boycotting Starbucks for being pro-gay rights? Or Modern Family for having untraditional and (gasp!) a gay couple adopting a child? Something tells me you were probably on the forefront of those up in arms about that. People — and companies– can have their beliefs all they want. That doesn’t mean I’m going to spend my hard-earned money there. Period.