There are so many tools out there for scheduling tweets and Facebook updates. It makes it so easy to act like a Ronco Rotisserie Oven and “set it and forget it.” In some ways, this makes a lot of sense–for instance, if you have a happy hour that starts every day at 5:00, why not schedule a tweet promoting it at the same time every day? 364 days out of 365, this will work with no problems.

But all it takes is one different day.

As you may know, we’re an Indianapolis social media company. And on Saturday, August 13, Indianapolis suffered one of its worst tragedies in recent memory as a stage at the Indiana State Fair collapsed in a freak gust of wind. At least five people are dead, and more than 40 were sent to hospitals with injuries ranging from bruises to broken backs. On social media, it was all anyone was talking about that night.

Except for the auto tweets.

I won’t name names, but automatic updates promoting half-price food deals, coupons, or blathering on about events at the state fair the next day all came off as being in extraordinarily bad taste amidst the thousands of tweets from grieving Hoosiers. They rang false and callous and uncaring and lazy. It did not make me want to buy from these brands.

That’s not to say there is no place for scheduled tweets–mostly I don’t object to them if you can make them look organic and spontaneous. But you can’t “set it and forget it.” Social media feeds on news, and news changes from moment to moment. You have to be ready and willing to adapt and change as circumstances do, and to get those autoscheduled updates off when tragedy strikes.

We’re still thinking and praying about those affected by the tragedy at the fair–we hope you are, too.