According to Urban Dictionary, the term “read the room” is defined as: Understanding the emotions and thoughts of people in the room.
It doesn’t just apply to people physically in the room with you. It means understanding how others will feel and react to what you say or post.
I always caution clients that before they post on any social platform, they should read the room. Know what people are discussing. Think about how your post will be read by others. Just because you think it’s a good idea doesn’t mean everyone else has to or will agree.
Some brands and people have a team of marketing, PR and communications pros to guide them. Their job is to consider how each post will be viewed by the audience. The goal? Maximum engagement. Avoid maximum blowback.
Does that make for an authentic feed? Not really. Everything is calculated and nothing is posted on a whim. Which is why I don’t follow many celebs. I’m not getting their real version. I’m getting the version that has been filtered and edited. Meh.
However, there are times when I wish they actually thought before they posted. Or wished that their entire PR team wasn’t asleep at the wheel.
Read The Room
Case in point: On Sunday March 21, 2021 Kylie Jenner was trending.
Truth be told, the Kardashian family trends just plenty on Twitter. This one however was because of Kylie’s post which had everyone upset at her.
Background: Her makeup artist, Samuel Rauda, was in a horrific car accident. Samuel’s family set up a GoFundMe to help pay for the expensive medical bills. In a now deleted Instagram post, Kylie wrote: “may God watch over you and protect you @makeupbysamuel everyone take a moment to say a prayer for Sam who got into an accident this past weekend. and swipe up to visit his families go fund me.” (You can see the deleted post here)
Kylie assumed this was a nice gesture to help someone she works with. Problem was: She didn’t read the room.
wait so kylie jenner’s make up artist got into a car accident and needed $60k for emergency brain surgery and she asked her fans to donate???? and then only donated $5,000 when she’s a literal billionaire? the wrong people have money.
— nataleebfitness (@nataleebfitness) March 20, 2021
Folks are defending Kylie Jenner by pointing out she donated $5,000 to her makeup artist’s medical GoFundMe. Her net worth is $900M.
So, that’s 0.000006% of her net worth.
If your net worth were, say, $100k, it would be like donating 56 cents.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) March 21, 2021
We’re in the midst of a global pandemic and an economic recession. People have limited funds to spare. When a self-made billionaire makes the request she did, it comes off as tone deaf. And people let her know.
Kylie absolutely should have had the good sense not to ask her hundreds of millions of fans to help pay for Samuel’s medical needs. Even if she didn’t mean to she looks cheap, as if the fact that Samuel is her makeup artist should matter to her millions of fans.
We all wish Samuel a speedy and full recovery. But asking us to give money? Not cool.
When your organization posts online, you’re not posting for you. You have to think about the target audience you’re trying to reach. You want to find content they want to consume. Which means you have to consider how they’re going to react.
Kylie’s team can handle the Twitter backlash. Could yours?