I've been reading Louis Gray's blog a lot lately and I find him to be consistently thoughtful, original and accurate. His most recent post is about the tendency of people on Twitter and other social media to repeat rumors as if they were facts. This morning two usually reliable sources. Mashable and Digg 's Kevin Rose ran with the news of the death of Jared Fogel from the Subway commercials.
Except that news of the death was about as accurate as an Elvis sighting. Louis makes the point that people should check their sources before publishing. Always good advice and the professional thing to do.
Except social media is filled with passionate amateurs who often Tweet with great speed during short breaks from whatever it is they do for a living. This is one of the primary reasons that it seems to me that social media practitioners are not structured to replace professional news gathering and distributing organizations.
Our advantage is that we have a great many feet on a great many streets in a good many global neighborhoods. Our disadvantage is that we lack the discipline and filters of traditional news organizations. My hope is the two can somehow braid their strengths together for the benefit of everyone.
Meanwhile, we social media practitioners should at least take the time to attribute where we got the information we republish so that those who care can consider the original sources.