Trust and Twitter: Aboslutely incumbent on user’s own responsibility

TwitterLast night on the message board (the original board), a user posted the question about Twitter and whether it is controlling radio. The poster was also frazzled by the amount of re-tweets and the concept of getting “likes” — or in the case of Twitter, “follows.”  I was pleased with my response, so I thought I’d also post it here. You can also view the original thread here.

My response to the question of whether Twitter

Twitter is the absolute best method for delivering news and information. The user has to work harder and be smarter to filter through what he/she thinks is nonsense.

When my wife texted me several months back telling me her school was on lockdown, there was nothing on the local town’s news website to indicate why. When I went on Twitter and searched the name of the town, I found after 20 seconds there was a bank robbery in that same subdivision. Several people nearby were tweeting about it before the news could get their hands on it.

There was a lot of nonsense going around on Twitter and sites like Reddit in the days after the Boston Marathon bombings. You know who else screwed up just days after? John King and CNN. Fox News and the Associated Press followed. The New York Post made a callous mistake that you would have thought was done by a citizen journalist.

You can get duplicitous information via a HAM radio.

So to answer your question, Twitter isn’t just controlling the radio, it is a valuable component of today’s media environment.

The original poster submitted a follow-up question, asking how to be sure you can trust what you’re reading. This poster is worried about lazy journalism and the rush to be first in breaking a story.

My follow-up response:

Speaking in terms of news via Twitter, you follow who you are willing to trust.

Do you trust anyone specific on the radio or television? You can chose to only follow those people on Twitter. If you happen, for example, to highly trust Pete Williams of NBC News, you can chose to follow him, and trust that if he re-tweets anything, it will only be because he has confidence or knows that the content is somehow useful.

You can enjoy a Garry Meier on the radio, for example, but find his Twitter useless because the staffer who runs his account is likely to tweet silly, stupid news things that I am not interested in (some of those things, I find funny when Meier is talking about them — but not via his Twitter).

That’s at least how I see it. On my personal Twitter, I recently found there was too much junk so I started un-following a bunch of people. This probably sounds silly, especially to someone who is new to social networking — but I trimmed a lot of the fat, and it greatly enhanced the experience.

I’ve been on Twitter for three of four years now, and probably only began to appreciate it when following baseball’s hot stove news and rumors. Since starting a separate Twitter specifically for this blog and by primarily following only individuals or outlets involved with media, my appreciation for it is even higher (and I’ve only been using that account for one week).

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