Pros and Cons of Twitter as a News Source
Earthquakes, fires and sirens!
Dallas/Fort Worth-area residents have experienced all of these in the past couple of weeks. Can the zombie apocalypse be far behind?
Actually, all three events were unrelated. We had some minor rumbles that rattled folks in a traditionally earthquake-free area; high winds caused some tornado sirens to go off in the middle of the night; and Big Tex, the iconic giant who greeted State Fair of Texas visitors, burned down to his boots.
The common theme of all three events? The news broke on Twitter and took off like wildfire. (Sorry about that wording, Big Tex.)
It used to be that we flipped on the TV or radio when something unexplained happened in our neighborhoods, and we found out about celebrity deaths the next day in the newspaper. Social media – particularly Twitter – has changed that.
Twitter is an opportunity to share and receive news more rapidly than ever before. It’s also a great opportunity to spread inaccurate information and hoaxes, which is something you don’t want to be a part of, especially if you’re tweeting from your business account.
Tips for separating the real news from the rumor mill on Twitter:
Consider the source – Just because a user’s profile pic is the CNN logo doesn’t mean it’s really CNN. If the actual Twitter handle beside that photo of Anderson Cooper is @TheCoopz, and the account has 124 followers, you can be sure that you are not looking at tweets from a respected journalist.
Most celebrities and large companies have taken the time to verify themselves with Twitter, and their accounts will have a big blue check mark to the side. If you don’t see one, take a second look.
Check it out – When you see a tweet about the imminent zombie apocalypse, of course you want to hit the retweet button and warn any of your followers who haven’t yet been warned. This is just what the person who started the hoax wants.
When you spread a hoax, you risk hurting your own credibility. When credible sources reveal that Justin Bieber has not, indeed, died for the eighth time this year, you’re going to look pretty foolish.
Before you hit the retweet button, take a minute to do some fact checking. Is the story being reported by major news outlets? Is Justin Bieber currently appearing live on a late-night talk show as you prepare to spread the news of his untimely death?
For all the potential perils, Twitter can be a great way to stay on top of breaking news as it happens. Just take a moment to verify your sources and think before you retweet.
If you’d like some help or guidance with your Twitter strategy, please contact us. We’re on top of all of the legitimate news and trends, and we’ll be happy to help!Tags: hoaxes, ilfusion, news, social media, twitter