Beyond The Buzz

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

– Ray Bradbury

Researching before Reposting…

Published April 17th, 2012 in Archive, Our Blog | Comments Off on Researching before Reposting…

Recently Pebbles Jacobo 0f Christian Work at Home Moms (www.CWAHM.com) got a request for a specific blog and she forwarded it my way. The requester pointed out that a lot of people these days are forwarding links, videos, pictures and stories without checking the validity of the source and she asked if someone could post about that. Pebbles got in touch with me and here it is!

Timeline and some recent changes made by Facebook have made it much easier for people to just hit a button and ‘share’ status updates, quotes, pictures, videos – you name it! I’m sure you’ve seen the influx of new things on your news feed. In some ways this is a good thing. It has the potential to make news travel really quickly for your business, organization or group. The flip side of that is that it’s really easy to accidentally forward the wrong thing or something that isn’t true at all. I know several people who have gotten caught up in this.

Listen, first let me say that Facebook, to my knowledge, will never pay for someone’s healthcare, medical expenses or donate to any causes based on a number of ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ that someone gets on their picture. Now that doesn’t mean that all causes on Facebook aren’t real. I follow an artist the other day who shared the very real story of a little girl in the hospital – but rather than seeking ‘likes’ for donations, he was spreading the word about an auction he’d put together in the girl’s name. It led to a legitimate site with information on every part of the girl’s illness, hospitalization and how to donate to a very real fund that will help her family.

Recently, Spike Lee made headlines for retweeting (RT) what he thought was a valid tweet regarding the Trayvon Martin case. Now the topic of the RT alone is appalling to me – it supposedly included the address of the man who shot Trayvon. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the proper address and an elderly couple ended up needing to leave their home after death threats, phone calls and protestors showed up at their house! Once he’d hit that RT button on Twitter, it was impossible to take it back. Once it was out there, he could delete it, but it got picked up by others and was a little like putting the toothpaste back in the tube. That’s something to remember. The second you hit share, it’s virtually impossible to ‘unshare’ it. Even deleting it can’t stop someone else from picking it up – with your name attached to it this time.

Spike Lee’s story, partnered with the crazy fast spread of KONY2012 (which is a blog entry in and of itself) should be cautionary tales for anyone in social media. Before you hit share on ANYTHING on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social media site, be sure that what you’re sharing and the site it leads to, are things that you would like to connect with your reputation.

Before you share or RT a story, I’d urge you to look it up and find the source. Make sure it’s real and that the cause is something you truly want to get behind. Check for the validity of the website and any contacts with that site. You can check snopes.com or search for urban legends. There are several websites that keep up on things like this.

The flip side of that coin is to be careful what links you click. Along with the open sharing, there’s also been a huge spread in viruses via social media. It’s easy to share and pass quickly – so that’s a very ripe avenue for causing serious damage. My recommendation would be to do a separate search for the name or subject of the story in a new window and see what pops up. You might be surprised.

In this day of instant social media and sharing, be wise with what you share and how you do it.

This article was featured on www.CWAHM.com