I was sent an image the other day from one of Synaptic Digital’s summer interns, Melissa Panasci that read: “Google before you tweet” is the new “Think before you speak.” This seemingly innocuous idiom got me thinking about the way we use the resources available to us, and the ramifications of living in a 24/7 techno-centric world.
In a culture where 140 characters have supplanted the traditional news release, accuracy and due diligence often seems to take a back seat to being first out with a story. Ironically, we have more information and reference tools than ever before, yet too often we find ourselves re-tweeting/posting/blogging misinformation that we have chosen, unintentionally or not, to spread as truth. With that said, I offer three simple tips:
- Always cross-reference your information from two or more sources
Too often company accounts get compromised and false information is posted. One recent example came over Fourth of July Weekend, when Fox News’ twitter account was hacked and sent out tweets claiming that President Obama had been fatally shot. As one can imagine, the retweets soon followed. This is one example of how a quick cross-reference of two other news sites would have eliminated any doubt that the tweets were in fact false.
- Bring something new to the “tweeting community”
Have you ever been a part of a conversation where people make the same point over and over again or worse yet, one person makes a point and then another person changes the wording only to say the exact same thing? Well twitter is no different. Instead of simply retweeting something, try to add something new to the conversation. Whether it is your own personal opinion or a related article that adds value to conversation, be original and bring your own personality to the table (or TweetDeck if you will).
- Be cautious of “Need To Be The First” syndrome
I often find myself reading an interesting article, and immediately looking for the time stamp. I do this because of an annoying compulsion I have to want to be the first of my friends/peers/coworkers to spread the news. The problem I have run into is that I often jump the gun, posting links to articles without even reading the entire thing. In doing so, I put myself at jeopardy of passing along information that I later might realize I didn’t support or want to share in the context that I did.
To put it simply: Google Before You Tweet!