E-mail Scott
Scott's Links
About the Author
Opinion Archives
Social Media:
Facebook
Twitter
Tumblr
Google Plus
YouTube
Flickr
PhotoBucket
Monthly Archives:

January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017

Powered by Blogger
Subscribe via RSS

Friday, August 26, 2016

Use discernment before sharing on social media

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Before you share something online (on social media or elsewhere) you should think about what you are sharing. Asking yourself the question "does this make sense?" will prevent you from sharing things that are false and may save you some embarrassment in the future. Recognizing how your inherent biases may make you more susceptible to being hoaxed will help too.

Unfortunately, I speak from personal experience. Someone showed me this YouTube video a while back and I thought it was hilarious. In my foolishness, I shared it. However, while the video is real the way it is presented is not. Obama was not being snubbed. He was introducing someone to a group of people. Yes, I got hoaxed. No, that is not the only time I have been hoaxed. It is far from it, and far from the only time I really should have known better. I will probably get hoaxed again and will allow myself to be hoaxed because of my own foolishness and complete lack of discernment.

If I had used even the tiniest, un-measurable amount of discernment my nonsense detector would have been blaring when I saw that video. Would a group of people really disrespect and snub the President of these United States? Sure, one person may do that, but would a whole line of people do that? No. Even if people do not like the individual, they will not disrespect the office of the President like that. It was stupid for me to be taken in by this. I should have known better, and I should have known better from the second I saw the video. I did not think about it. Worse yet, I allowed my own anti-Obama bias to reinforce my foolishness. I cannot stand Obama, so obviously this is real, right? Wrong!

This brings me to a fabricated tweet where Tim Kaine said he and his wife are in an "open marriage." Now, do what I did not do with the "snubbed" video, and think about this for a minute. If a sitting U.S. Senator and the former governor of Virginia were to Tweet this via his official account this would be a huge story. It would be all over every cable news channel, every mainstream news website, the lead above-the-fold headline on every newspaper and the lead story on the nightly news. If the first place you're hearing about this is some anonymous Facebook page, and the source is a very obscure website, how likely is it that this is legitimate?

Here's a hint: It is probably a hoax. And what makes this particular hoax so very bad is while it does reflect badly on Tim Kaine, it is much more harmful to his wife. It is one thing to attack a politician or to attack that politician's high-profile supporters. It is another thing entirely to spread a smear about a politician's family. While everyone gets hoaxed from time to time, this is an area where extra caution is required and extra humility is needed when you are discovered to be wrong.

Yet some people are so slavishly devoted to Donald Trump that they are predisposed to believe nearly any claim advanced by his surrogates, especially negative claims about Hillary Clinton or Tim Kaine. I did a quick search on Facebook and a lot of people have shared this article - and that is just the public posts I can see from people who are not my friends. I can imagine how many times that article has been shared by people who are not my friends and are sharing it only with their friends. Things can spread quickly when all you have to do to blast it to three hundred people is click one button.

You do not even need to fact-check every post before you share it. If you see an outlandish claim, think about it and use some of the discernment that we all have. If the claim is really outlandish, fact-check it before you share it. If you are called out on it, be humble and admit you made a mistake - something that I recognize is very difficult to do. And no, let's not blame Facebook for this. Before Facebook, this stuff would get spread around via e-mail or newsgroups. (Remember those?) E-mail hoaxes are what created Snopes. If Facebook never existed, this would spread via Google Plus, MySpace or Yahoo 360. The root of the problem is the people sharing, not the platform used to share fake stories.

(0 Comments)

Note: All posts must be approved by the blog owner before they are visible on the blog.

Comments:

Post a Comment


Below are the rules for commenting on ConservaTibbs.com.

  1. A reasonable level of civility is expected. While it is expected that controversial political and social issues may generate heated debate, there are common-sense limits of civility that will be enforced.

  2. This blog is a family-friendly site. Therefore no cursing, profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, etc. will be allowed. This is a zero-tolerance rule and will result in automatic deletion of the offending post.

  3. Anonymity has greatly coarsened discourse on the Internet, so pseudonyms are discouraged but not forbidden. That said, any direct criticism of a person by name cannot be done anonymously. If you criticize someone, you have to subject yourself to the same level of scrutiny or the comment will be deleted.

  4. Please keep your comments relevant to the topic of the post.

  5. All moderation decisions are final. I may post an explanation or I may not, depending on the situation. If you have a question or a concern about a moderation decision, e-mail me privately rather than posting in the comments.

Thank you for your cooperation.