Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The dangers of social media

As someone who deals with it every day, I feel I can this with some authority about the explosion of social media:

Be careful out there. And that goes both for what you post and for what you consume.

The dangers of social media were reinforced this week when an angry mob showed up outside the house of a Philadelphia man who had been identified in fliers and on Facebook as the suspect in the Kensington Strangler case.

Only one problem. Police said he was not a suspect.

Of course, that little piece of checking did not come until after the posting had hit the Internet, and fliers distributed all over the neighborhood.

Imagine waking up to find yourself wrongly in the center of that kind of firestorm.

The trade that I practice every day is called journalism. We have a few standards we abide by, and that includes our postings on social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

There is an old saying in my business: If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.

Too much of what is thrown up on the great online wall has little or no validity to it, aside from one person’s desire to make a point.

As we saw in Philadelphia this week, that can be a very dangerous thing.


Blogger Manalive said...

There's another old saying about journalism: "The only real news in a newspaper is on the obituary page". G.K.Chesterton

December 22, 2010 at 6:04 PM 

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