Should Facebook brand pages give condolences to Steve Jobs?

With the tragic news today of Steve Jobs passing, it has prompted some thought on how brands approach what is widely deemed as a global tragedy.

As a member of a discussion group comprised of Australian social media community managers, an interesting question was raised as to whether it was appropriate for a brand Facebook page to issue condolences at Jobs’ passing. I usually don’t comment however was compelled with this particular topic as the discussion was polarised between those for and against a brand expressing sympathy over a well-loved public figure’s death.

Personally, I don’t see any issue with this whatsoever. One of the most well-known and respected people on the planet died and sentiment should not be reserved just for brands who have some kind of direct or indirect connection to Jobs’ industry. Not to mention, it was Jobs’ vision that allowed branded content to flood to mobile devices in the first place, thus empowering brands to reach their customers in new and innovative ways. When people of all walks of life are currently updating their own personal statuses with an outpouring of sympathy, and in some cases, grief, I think it’s social, and human for brands to have the freedom to comfort their fans and acknowledge the passing of a true innovator.

Interested to know what you think so feel free to comment with your own opinion.

I’ve supplied some quotes from the discussion below:

‘If the brand has a relevant connection to his legacy etc then i don’t see why not…’

‘I saw xxxxxx did one. I felt like they were cashing in on a sad event. I saw heaps of content portals and tech focussed pages did it and it felt appropriate.’

Just thinking about this – If not relevant to your brand I think it would look like you were cashing in…’

‘I reckon it’s tasteless unless you’re a related brand.’

Related brand? No way. How much has Apple changed public transport experiences, media distribution, how you relate to personal computing, and all the things you do with that? There are definitely pages where it wouldn’t sit right, but the glowing, shiney white reach of the iBrand is long and mighty.’

‘It would seem ignorant for them not to acknowledge such a widely commentated event. Cashing in would be ‘we’ll wish RIP to Steve Jobs if you help us get to 5,000 fans!’ #fail’

‘More than appropriate. It might show that they have a heart rather than just a commerical (sic) interest.’