Glass houses in social media

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First let me say, we are using social media, we are not the media. It seems that people are getting confused. In the rush to newsjack, people are using their social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook to “report the news.”  This is resulting in misreports, false reports and people creating fake photos to get retweeted or shared. Please think twice before you retweet a photo or share an update. Use your personal network to help if possible by sharing from the true government sources.

People are tweeting and retweeting the Boston Police Department scanner.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/sethmnookin/status/325238919413256192″]

The Massachusetts State Police needs to ask that media do not broadcast video.

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/MassStatePolice/status/325233020858671105″]

“Thought leaders” are rushing to tell people how to tweet. Have we lost our ability to rationally think and use common sense? I don't need a thought leader to tell me what to do or how I should do things. Aren't leaders supposed to lead by example and not pass their personal judgement? There's a few people whose fingers must really hurt from all the pointing they did. I'm the leader of my own thoughts, thank you very much.

In our shared emotional state this week people were mean, harsh and downright unprofessional. Please think before you tweet angry words. Tragedies are scary and everyone deals with things in their own way. Some people shut down, some people like to discuss and share and others like to try to carry on with life to keep things as normal as possible. Just because something is your way, doesn't make it right or someone else's wrong.

“It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Some rational thoughts from the crowd:

jay baer





Mitch Joel 

“Still, I'm not sure when is the right time to tweet or when I am offending someone. The truth is this: the fact that I have to worry about offending others and being the subject of an “so and so simply doesn't get it” type of piece makes me want to delete all of my social media accounts. I'm human. I have emotions. I want to share. I'm not trying to be a jerk. I'm not trying to be insensitive. I'm also not trying to capitalize on a tragedy for my own financial gain. If you follow those rules… and follow your heart when it comes to what feels right to you – as an individual or a brand – isn't that the best social media strategy? Otherwise, aren't we just turning Twitter and Facebook and everything else into this strange, homogenous and sanitized mass media channel that we all revolted against in the first place?”

Please look to reputable news sources for your news and look to social media folks for their social media smarts.  Just because you can tweet the news, it doesn't make you Anderson Cooper or Diane Sawyer. In our need to share the news, we are hurting the actual reporting of the news. Let's be smarter next time.

Photo credit Ti.mo

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  1. So good, and it just goes to prove that sometimes, common sense isn’t very common. As with everything in life, it’s important to consider the source, and to realize the impact we can have when we put something into print. I love this: “Just because you can tweet the news, it doesn’t make you Anderson Cooper or Diane Sawyer.” Cheers! Kaarina

    1. KDillabough This is so true “realize the impact we can have when we put something into print.” The ones who make up things to tweet or doctor photos are the ones who really perplex me. 
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. And everyone said…AMEN! So well said and absolutely dead on PegFitzpatrick! It was very unfortunate to see the negativity (and finger pointing) that came out of last week. Shame on the many who decided to preach from a soapbox, rather than allowing people to deal with the events in their own way. As you said, we all process differently. Live and let live.

    1. Rebekah Radice Thanks – this was a tough week and I’m looking forward to things getting back to “normal.” I think we’ve seen that there are a lot of people trying to get attention in anyway possible.

  3. Peg, you are brave! This is a labyrinthine subject with more than a few catch 22s.
    Anderson Cooper and CNN did not take the Tahrir protests seriously in the first days of the Egyptian revolution. But the history-making going on there was immediately obvious to tens of thousands of people on social media – myself included. Perhaps, the real problem was not Anderson Cooper, but CNN and their corporate and political reluctance to cover a “controversial” event? 
    The White House exercises certain editorial decision on the content of the mainstream media. On occasion. That is a fact. And, occasionally,  such decision does not necessarily reflect the best interests of the American people – or humanity. Or so it seems.
    There is also a long-running conversation about how the so-called third estate serves many masters and the public interest may not be among them. There is compelling argument that citizen journalism is essential to freedom and democracy – now and tomorrow. Because the mainstream media “occasionally” avoids, ignores and silences difficult or uncomfortable questions, facts and information.
    I have seen with my own eyes how the so-called free press can be a willing and enthusiastic accomplice to corruption, etc.  
    Recently, the mainstream media has also been criticized for diminishing journalistic standards due to the news corporation’s lack of investment/funding of research, human investigation, fact confirmation, etc.
    At the same time, citizen journalists are unwashed in the clergical ranks, rituals and the dogmas of a so-called free press. Private persons pursue truth, games of truth a la Foucault and “relevance” as their individual conscience (or personal agenda) dictates. Their liability for doing so comes with considerably lighter consequences – a matter of great envy for the news corporation. 
    The inescapable crisis of dishonesty, propaganda, misinformation and paranoia is not pretty. Social media is not immune to these profound cultural problematics.
    And then there are the challenges of complete transparency, the free exchange of information and “leaks”. 
    Parsing the path forward to the common good is not obvious.

    1. Faryna Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Stan. It is a very complicated issue and I hope people will learn from this last experience. I’m not so sure though.

  4. While it’s great to have different perspectives, the facts need to be accurate. I hope we can all learn from this, and get back to normal soon. great post, Peg!

  5. I’m concerned by several problematics of CNN’s coverage.
    1. The constant referral of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as Suspect 2 seemed an unnecessary dehumanization of the suspect. 
    Suspect 1 was dead and yet the reporters and anchors continued to refer to the deceased Tamerlan as Suspect 1 – almost as if he was still living. All of which reminded me of the scene from Silence of the Lambs where the sociopathic, serial killer instructs the victim to use lotion.
    “It rubs the lotion on its skin…”
    2. The complete lack of interest/discussion of the suspension of the usual civil liberties in the pursuit of the suspect. 
    People were arrested on the spot for refusing to fully cooperate with law enforcement searching their homes and property. Furthermore, the press never made public announcements/explanations regarding the new laws where search warrants are not required and miranda warnings are not issued to ordinary citizens. There is also a question about what discoveries made (unrelated to the terrorist search) can be used against ordinary citizens.
    3. The heavy handed “leading” of character witnesses (including Tsarnaev’s mother and father) to speak in a manner that presumes the guilt of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
    All of which suggests to me that mainstream journalism is unapologetically aligned with the financial mission of the news corporation and the politics which allow it access to official information and insight. My indictment does not simply suggest an irresponsible, sensational journalism that lacks objectivity – but a license to advance a politically correct and state-sponsored point of view that denies contradictory facts, opinions and questions. This is not an original insight.
    In a 2010 op-ed, NY Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas Friedman made the same indictment of mainstream journalism. Nor is Friedman alone in the criticism of mainstream journalism.
    Good journalism will not diminish our sorrow for the victims of the Boston marathon bombs. It will not diminish our sympathy for the families of the victims. It will not diminish our pride in the first responders, law enforcement personnel and medical personnel who served/serve with courage and energy. Good journalism will not prevent the nation’s search for answers, understanding, justice and healing.
    The irony is not lost on me that CNN displayed the same tweet from the Boston Police Department (about Dzhokhar’s capture) – the same tweet that I had posted a minute faster on my Facebook account. What great value did CNN bring – if they only fact they knew was a fact available to the ordinary citizen?

    1. Faryna I think you should definitely write about this topic too. CNN seems to have made a lot of reporting errors. It’s a bad thing when we won’t be able to trust media for reliable news.

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