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When Social Media Goes Wrong…

January 8, 2011

The last blog we posted extolled the virtues of Twitter. Specifially, the growing Twitter community of which we’re a part. We do genuinely love the positives that Twitter has afforded us – most notably, a fabulous group of like minded friends.

We use Twitter, amongst many other avenues,  to promote what businesses who connect with us, are doing. In 140 characters we can positively promote what’s going on. Etc. Etc. Etc. This blog isn’t to promote what’s good about Twitter & Social Media. I think we’re all intelligent enough to know how to use social media in the most appropriate, and “sensible”/”sensitive” way possible…

Tonight, I saw a side to social media I didn’t like. (A side that has always existed – it’s just that today I took  a day off, and normally I’m too busy to just, well, search the internet…)

I saw a tweet about the Arizona shooting, which involved US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, from a friend at about 7.30pm Saturday evening. Shocking news whatever your politial affiliations. However, what then transpired showed the downside to Twitter. Being a bit of a news fiend, my evening typically begins with the news at 6.oopm, (but having been interspersed with rolling news throughout the day & continuing after the evening TV news). I do like a bit of “breaking news”. I go to sleep to & waken up to 5Live – “Just in case something happens”…

But what I saw unfolding tonight was horrible. Bad enough that Giffords, and allegedly 11 others, had been shot (and some fatally), but then the rolling news feeds starting reporting. She was dead. Some of her aides were dead. No, she wasn’t. She’d been airlifted to hopsital. She was dead. 5 people were dead. No – sorry, seven were. Gabrielle Giffords was married to an astronaut. She was alive, but undergoing surgery. Sarah Palin was involved, via a map…

It all became a bit mad.

And that’s my point. New social media is brilliant is many respects. It enables new friendships to flourish. It enables friendships to grow. It enables news to spread.

But – it also enables rumour & hearsay to spread. It allows people to put out what they want others to hear/believe/see. It takes a special person to cut through all of this & get the to heart of things…

It’s just a shame it took yet another senseless action of, hopefully, a deluded individual to spur me on to do this blog.

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