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TheDay.com - What Twits you are sometimes | Southeastern Connecticut News, Sports, Weather and Video | The Day newspaper

What Twits you are sometimes

Rufus Giuseppe

Publication: theday.com

Published 04/23/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 04/23/2013 05:13 PM

Tuesday afternoon I was deep in meditative thought on "my" bed, gazing out the window at the squirrel-free no-man's land commonly known as a front yard when my broker called.

He said the whole Street was aflutter because the Associated Press had reported on Twitter that the White House had been bombed and President Obama was injured.

Everyone was in a selling frenzy, he said. I told him to hold the phone.

I'm no genius but that whole Tweet thing smelled like a litter box at the crazy cat lady's house after a long-weekend away.

So, I did what any semi-intelligent being would do upon seeing that Tweet: I sought verification.

And I didn't go looking at other social media for confirmation, either. I consulted reliable news sources, including this one, and soon learned that a group called Syrian Electronic Army had taken credit for getting into AP's Twitter account and sending out the gem that sent the Dow Jones plunging about 130 points. It soon recovered.

Now, I'm a benevolent and merciful dog, but sometimes you bipeds make me want to bite you. Hard. Somewhere squishy.

What is wrong with you? Last week you went nuts sharing "information" on the Boston bombing that had little or no basis in fact. Some of it was really harmful, such as the hateful garbage trying to link a missing Brown University student with the attack. Like his family isn't going through enough hell right now.

Maybe you think news organizations are too slow in reporting "facts," so you turn to social media. They're not slow; they are doing something called "fact checking." This requires talking to actual, legitimate, named sources and verifying information. And it's usually information that can't be contained in 141 characters.

Don't get me wrong; I love Twitter. It's great for following trends, dishing on the Oscars and "Downton Abbey," following brands and sharing my wisdom (@gooddawgrufus). Yet, before you sell your Apple stock or head to your bunker with a gas mask, verify the information in the Tweet, crawl, status update, post, text alert, Pin, etc. In fact, verify information you get from any source: Including this one.

Imagine the havoc if Orson Welles had social media at his fingertips during the "War of the Worlds" broadcast.

The whole thing makes me want to take a nap.


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