Friday afternoon I was asked to join a conversation that had started on Twitter.
Here are the initial questions:
Needless to say, there was plenty of discourse about this. There were comments from journalists, public relations professionals, and others.
My response was:
I also added: “Too often what’s reported is scanner traffic, rumor or just simply not true. Then it gets RTed (re-tweeted). Not good for anyone.”
My point is, it’s great to get real time information, but before you blast it to the world — and these days with Twitter, Facebook, blogs and even basic websites it’s easy to do — make sure it’s right. Do some fact checking. Call more than one source. See if the person/group/company behind the news will comment.
Maybe you don’t have time for all of that initially, but it is your due diligence to make sure what you are sending out is accurate. Hint: Scanner traffic isn’t always accurate.
I used an example of when Tom Brady got into his accident. There was so much misinformation being spread, mostly via Twitter, that it was laughable. Only it wasn’t, because what happens is those messages get posted over and over again on hundreds of people’s accounts. So soon enough thousands of people see what is incorrect information and think it’s true.
I came back to this discussion a full four days later because this morning I found out the man who owned the Segway company died while riding a Segway.
As a Manchester, New Hampshire native, I am keenly aware as to who invented the Segway. His name is Dean Kamen. He is not the same man who died while riding the Segway.
However, there were plenty of people posting on Twitter that “the Segway inventor died.” No, he’s alive and well.
Even Roger Ebert got it wrong (and his message was retweeted 100+ times):
He at least used the name and the article to which he linked calls Heselden the “tycoon that took over Segway firm.” But that just goes to my point even more.
It’s about details. You need to pay attention to them. Yes, it’s great to be the first person with the message, but not if it’s wrong. That’s simply irresponsible.
Do you think real time journalism has made us better informed?