When it comes to being a brand and trying to commemorate the victims of the September 11th attacks, sometimes doing as little as possible is probably going to be your best choice. A simple, "Never forget," perhaps?
Example A of what not to do: Yesterday, for the 12th anniversary of the attacks, AT&T tweeted this photo of a phone taking a picture of the "Tribute of Light" in New York City:
Users on Twitter tweeted criticism at AT&T for posting the photo, accusing them of trying to promote a phone during a day of rememberance. (Though the image isn't really outright offensive, they could have easily left out the distracting phone and just opted for a straight on picture of the lights—alas, they didn't.)
After about an hour, AT&T finally took down the tweet, and issued this apology:
Then, in the sports world, the LA Lakers tweeted this picture of a young Kobe Bryant for their 9/11 commemoration.
But, people mistook the tweet as the Lakers saying "never forget" Kobe, though his jersey clearly shows the patch the team wore after the attacks. The Lakers deleted the post soon, but Keith Olbermann bashed them later that night on his show:
But, arguably the biggest Internet fail from yesterday was the one that came from a glitch. Esquire's website erroneously matched the iconic "Falling Man" photo (a very controversial photograph of a man jumping out of one of the burning towers) from September 11th, with a story called, "Make Your Commute More Stylish."
The mistake is so bad that it would be hard to believe that the magazine did it on purpose, a glitch in the software seems probable. So, a quick fix and an apologetic tweet would have swept it under the rug. But, Esquire didn't really have the most apologetic tone here:
Relax. Yeah, this tweet did nothing to help the situation. As you guessed it, people weren't happy.
There you have it. Twelve years later and the Internet still doesn't know how to handle the anniversary. But, like many things, we all have our own way of dealing with tragedy. Sometimes it's better left to ourselves than on the Internet.