Social Media has become the media of choice for any one with a cause to promote. It does not matter whether the cause is just or ridiculous, fair or unfair, for the general good or to pursue vicious vendettas.
It is often hijacked by those with a political agenda.
The latest incident to highlight the dark side of social media has stirred up a tempest in a coffee cup.
Tim Hortons was featuring Enbridge, a major energy corporation with interests in Alberta’s oil sands, on it’s in-store advertising screens.
Self appointed crusaders against the development of the oil sands launched a campaign on social media and collected 23 000 on-line signatures clamouring for Tim Hortons to stop featuring Enbridge.
The coffee chain caved into the pressure.
I don’t have access to the demographic breakdown of Tim Hortons customers, but I think it is a fair bet that most fall into the great silent majority of ordinary, decent, working, Canadians. It’s also probable that the extremists campaigning against oil sands development are not your average Tim Hortons customer, more likely preferring to enjoy the perceived “green” image and pay the higher prices at Starbucks.
This post is not about the merits or demerits of obtaining oil in Canada by new technology. My opinion is that it is preferable to buying oil from repressive states and transporting it across oceans where the potential for an ecological disaster is far higher than on land.
I have criticised Tim Hortons in the past for banning Christmas , in that post and an update the following day, I wrote about the dangers of bowing to political correctness.
It’s a short-sighted policy to alienate large corporate sponsors of charitable events and a major market segment just to appease a small but vocal minority of social media activists.
It is also a sad reflection on the trend to discard old values, values that have helped Western countries build successful democracies and create infinitely better conditions for their populations than those countries that do not honour those values.
The old adage that “He who stands for nothing, falls for everything” is as true at a personal level as it is for large businesses like Tim Hortons.
Concern for the environment is one thing, appeasing small groups of activists attempting to sabotage the economy by shutting down strategic energy sources is like shooting yourself in the foot or scoring an “own goal” in soccer.
We cannot please every one all the time, whether as individuals, business owners or employees. We will always be too something for someone.
That’s life, that’s the way it is.
We need to be true to ourselves, use discernment, know which values are important and have the courage of our convictions.
Most people get a taste of adversity at some point in life, some more than once, others a far more serious experience. That’s when we rely on our values to get us through, overcome the adversity, thrive on it and move on.
Not by blowing with the wind, trying to please everyone and following the latest politically correct trend on social media.
How do you stand on your fundamental values? Would you cave in to pressure?
Leave a comment.
Coffe cup photo by Mister GC / Freedigitalphotos.net