What is wrong with the world wanting to spit out news before they know the facts? It is evident that this technique has a way of killing the reputations of many people not involved in the case. There have been so many instances where the picture of the shooter wasn’t of him, but another man with the same name. Come on, just because your name is Brad Smith doesn’t mean there aren’t any other people in the world with that name. The media and publications don’t realize they are ruining their publication value as well the value of others. Wouldn’t you want to be a trustworthy source in the world of lies? Well, you must play the part then! What was Social Media Gone Bad With Newtown Shooting all about?
Right when the incident happened I tried to find the hashtag of the person who was known to be the “killer” on Twitter. At first, most of the publications were saying Ryan Lanza was the killer. Twitter is the source I use to get all my news so I started looking up different keywords and what people were talking about. I found this long list of hate tweets about Ryan Lanza just to find out the next day, he did not do a thing. I said to myself, what is the point of social media and the news if they aren’t going to give you the facts? I don’t play mind games, and I don’t like others playing them with me either.
Another thing I saw was diluted answers to questions. It was like a game of telephone and the first person communicates most clearly. Then by the time it gets to the fourth or the fifth person things start to lose its effectiveness and becomes something that it was not. This was something I observed on Twitter when it came to the may publications. People had so many questions and other people were answering them from their perspective. This eliminates the facts, increases the controversy, and makes it difficult to settle anything!
How can publications fix this problem?
The media should only live blog or write articles based on facts. If they have predictions then they should bullet point them in a different section. They need to make sure everything is labeled with clear subtitles so the readers know the difference between facts and predictions. When one of my friends was at the Newport Beach shooting last Saturday she tweeted me her experience during the shooting. Then ABC wrote about it and they were completely off on what had happened. Now I would probably believe my friend who lived it versus a news station who had misleading information about the situation. Then my friend tweeted: “@ABC7 you are completely wrong — that is not what happened at all.”
So now who looks bad? That publication is not trustworthy at all. This is why they need to have a social media person who will respond to their readers with facts on their social networks. Then they need to have a separate community manager to make sure their social networks are only expressing the facts found in their publication stories. If they don’t know the answer to a question, they should respond with: “We have not found out yet or they are still investigating.“
How can the commenters fix the problem?
I saw many people creating fake profiles, and with the shooters name and making many derogatory comments. When someone makes a comment, they should just go off on what they have read, and not take it to a whole other perspective. It seems like many commenters just vent out their feelings through comments. Then they will answer questions from other comments with answers that are completely untrue.
When you have these types of question/answer scenarios on a social network like Twitter, things go viral fast. We start having people believe lies over facts. What used to be the reliable network for real-time news is now becoming a dump of false information.
Let’s fix this by only commenting on what we know and not using the comment section to vent about how we feel. As a leader you have to use the comments section to provide solutions and not more complaints.
For now, my prayers go out to the Newtown, CT situation. Please comment with your feedback below!