Monday morning I sat down at my desk to load a blog post for a blog I manage. I checked Twitter to see what I missed overnight and saw the horrible reports and videos out of Las Vegas. Mass shootings always bother me, but this one hit really hard. Not because I have any particular connection to Las Vegas, country music, or any of the victims. The pure helplessness on display in the videos showing concert goers running in every direction because no one knew the location of the gunman wrecked me.

When tragedy strikes, you may feel as though you need to post some piece of content on your blog or social media in regard to the tragedy. There are many appropriate ways to do this and there are even more inappropriate ways to do this.

Perhaps you want to share an encouraging word, a Bible verse, or information that may be helpful to those impacted by the tragedy. All of that is great.

A Good Example

Here is an example of an author I coach who saw the tragedy in Las Vegas as an opportunity to serve his readers:

Dr. Josh Straub is a family counselor who specializes in trauma. On his blog this week, he posted the blog post pictured above entitled, “How to Speak to Your Kids About Mass Shootings.”

Josh has a unique voice to speak into the tragedy in Las Vegas. He didn’t need to be there or lose a loved one in order to serve people amidst the sadness. He counsels families with a specific focus in traumatic situations. Why wouldn’t he use the gifts God has given him to serve others amidst such loss?

Josh’s piece is a good example of how to handle tragedy and serve through it. He wasn’t stretching himself or trying to take advantage of a bad situation. He just had the awareness to step into a space that were appropriate for his gifts.

A Bad Example

On Monday afternoon, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) made their own attempt at providing content related to the Las Vegas tragedy and, well, it wasn’t very good.

Sure, we all understand that cooking can be a therapeutic process for some—a way to de-stress and escape from the difficulty of life for a couple of hours. But for a newspaper to take the tragic massacre in Las Vegas and try to create some foodie content is a bit ham-handed.

How are these two examples different? Clearly, Josh has some expertise to offer that the AJC doesn’t. Josh is a family trauma counselor and he offered some advice for talking to kids about these sorts of tragedies. The AJC is a newspaper that just wanted a timely hook for a foodie column.

The AJC used the Las Vegas shooting to serve themselves. Josh saw the Las Vegas shooting as an opportunity to serve thousands of parents who were unsure of how to explain a tragedy to their kids.

When tragedy strikes, we have to be careful about what to post or not post on our blogs and social media.

Chris Martin

Chris Martin is the Co-Creator and Chief Content Officer at LifeWay Social as well as a Content Strategist at LifeWay. He and his wife Susie live outside Nashville, TN.