Social Media and the ACS

For the American Cancer Society and their social media team, it probably seemed like a great idea. Take a subject that you know people respond to and ask a very simple question.

For the American Cancer Society and their social media team, it probably seemed like a great idea. Take a subject that you know people respond to and ask a very simple question. As anyone with social media experience knows, it’s far from simple. The post that seemed so innocent? “How did you quit smoking? Share your story.” With that the firestorm started.

Just by asking this simple question, they received some major social juice. 3,384 comments, over 1,031 likes, and 1460 shares. Wowza! Any social media junkie will get their fix off of those results. So what’s the problem? The problem is what they were using to quit smoking, vaping. By my quick unscientific count around 95% of the ~3,000 posts are vaping related. The American Cancer Society has maintained that they do not endorse vaping as a way to quit smoking. Well, 3,000 people all saying the same thing is a pretty good endorsement if you ask me. I imagine there was quite the freak out for whoever was running their social media team. In their defense though they have taken more of a neutral stance on vaping and even better they let the comments stay.

Anti vaping advocates and others will point out the obvious here. This was the vaping community making a pin-point campaign to “bomb” this social post. In fact, if you run in the vaping circles it would be hard to deny this with a straight face. I think I saw about a thousand posts about this in the communities I’m a part of.

That, however, is the biggest positive for me to come out of this. From a sociological standpoint vaping has achieved what anti-smoking advocates have for years tried to accomplish, a true community of people who are dedicated and passionate about trying to stop smoking traditional cigarettes. These people run independently of a true professional organization. Organically they have for the most part found each other. They are simply people tied together by their own accord. This could be what scares anti-smoking advocates the most, the power that comes when people stand up together.

I’m curious to see if the American Cancer Society will respond to this and what their response will be. Hopefully, they see the potential e-cigs have and embrace the fact that so many have found something that helps them. I suspect that yet again, thousands of voices will be ignored. As a nonsmoker, I read it loud and clear. As more and more join in on the chorus the harder and harder it will be to ignore.