The Father’s Day shooting spree spread like wildfire across social media after the Myrtle Beach melee was captured live on Facebook by a tourist.
And now social media is reacting in a flippant manner by mocking the tragedy through Facebook memes — photo jokes that can take a humorous or mean-spirited aim at everything from birthdays to news events.
At least a half-dozen memes began spreading across Facebook as the Myrtle Beach City Council held a special meeting Tuesday, where an angry public demanded resignations, and that taxes used to draw millions more tourists through advertising be spent instead on beefing up police protection.
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Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Brad Dean warned the council that this event was already damaging the city’s image, and the best way to recover was by cracking down on criminal behavior.
“No amount of paid advertisement will overcome the amount of publicity we’ve had in the last couple of days,” Dean told the council.
“I can message safety a lot better than I can message mayhem,” Dean said.
It’s that mayhem that is being mocked by social users, while comments on other Facebook pages include threats from tourists who say they won’t be back until the crime issue is tackled.
Dean said Wednesday the chamber has an emergency fund used for advertising after certain disasters like hurricanes.
That action is not yet necessary, but if needed, Dean said that special fund will be used to counter negative messaging.
“We know we cannot stop people from expressing their opinions, even when it’s unflattering, but we intend to counter the misinformation with facts and relevant information,” Dean said.
The chamber’s publicity team is already monitoring digital news and social media sites and responding “with facts and accurate information, where helpful,” Dean said.
They also are reaching out to travel media and bloggers “to put this in context and hopefully prompt more positive coverage on various aspects of the destination,” Dean said.
Dean says tourists are still considering where to go for summer travel, and they are still working to draw those folks to Myrtle Beach.