Designing Empty Gestures

2017 has been marked by a series of terrible tragedies. From the Las Vegas shooting, New York's fatal truck attack and the Sutherland Springs church shooting just this past weekend. People are sharing their thoughts (and prayers) on social media and a few product companies are sharing similar remarks.

Last week I tweeted about a Spotify playlist made in regards to the New York event. This week I was greeted by a new playlist in reaction to yet another tragedy. For some, this may be a warm gesture on Spotify's part. For others (myself included) it feels like they're exploiting tragic events for more streams. This is a pretty bleak view, but these playlists do next to nothing to help the victims. They do succeed in reminding the user that Spotify appears to be a sympathetic company yet chooses to withhold any means of acting on it.

It's as if there's a team of people who's job it is to prepare the perfect playlist to accompany the worst events in some people's lives. For the rest of us, it's an empty gesture that offers no value other than a continued desensitization of extreme violence. The moment a company talks about tragedy, there should be thoughts of balance between human emotion and the message you're sending. This isn't Stranger Things, this is real, actual death.

There is a huge opportunity here for Spotify to elevate their brand. Harness the power of 140 million active users to help real people. If you build a way for your users to support others, they will (just look at Kickstarter). Just adding one button to donate money to relief efforts can change the message from 'exploitive faux-sympathy' to a force of good which uses music to bring people together.

Here's a quick a dirty take on how they can enrich these playlists:

Home Page w/ CTA to help

Podcast detail with GoFundMe integration