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February 17, 2011

Taking Twitter Too Seriously

In honour of my good friend Evette's return to Twitter today after a very long absence, a Twitter post!

Ok, actually, I was considering doing this one anyway, but it's posted today to honour her...

Remember yesterday's post about the Robocop statue in Detroit?

It turns out that it's very possible that this started out as a joke that took off. The mayor of Detroit, Dave Bing, as asked on Twitter about the Robocop statue. Was it a joke? I've heard differing reports on this.

Whatever the case may be, Mayor Bing took it seriously, and denied that Detroit public funds would be used for this statue.

(that just sounds so weird, especially if this were the Mayor Bing in question)

The whole thing took off from there, resulting in the news story that my post was about.

This is a cautionary tale about putting *too* much stock in Twitter, or pretty much anything else on the web, without multiple confirmations.

Erroneous celebrity death notifications have gone flying around the Twitter-sphere more often than Taylor Swift changes clothes in one of her concerts. Mistaken news items have also been propagated heavily before corrections have to be issued.

Twitter is an excellent place to stay informed because the news can be so instantaneous. It's also very hard to censor, which is why it did so fabulously during the Iranian protests of 2009, and why Egypt moved very quickly to block all Internet access during the recent protests (they didn't want the same thing happening).

But you do have to be careful. Don't believe everything you read, especially if it sounds too strange to be true. Really, why would the Canucks trade Ryan Kesler, one of their best players, for a depth defenseman like Ian White? But that rumour was flying around Twitter yesterday until the Canucks GM squashed it...via Twitter, actually. (Yes, he has his own account).

And if you're a public official, you might want to step back and think a minute if you get what seems like an outrageous question. Is this a serious question? Maybe direct message them (you can do that if they're following you) and see if it really is serious?

As with any other function of the Internet, it always pays to be careful. Hoaxes abound (keeping in business); stupidity and ignorance can run rampant.

It's also an excellent tool. So don't let these warnings keep you away from trying it.

Just be aware.

Which is good advice no matter what you're talking about.


  1. Awesome blog! And awesome layout bud. How can I make mine look this nice? lol

  2. Just found the little follow button lol...yeah was kinda slow on that

  3. Hey Euphoric! Welcome to the blog, and congratulations on yours!

    There's a link at the *very* bottom of each page on my blog to a site called "Free Blogger Templates." Also, if you do a search on "free blogger templates," you'll get a lot of sites with templates you can use. Most of the time you can just follow the instructions on the page, but it's not that hard.

    Modifying templates and stuff can be, though. That's why I don't do it. :)

    Let me know if you need any advice/help!


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