Check Your Facts Before You Shell Out Info

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Social media is an amplifier. The little mix-ups and mistakes we all make in life are just part of being human, and usually we do them quietly. But when we fark up online, people are listening. Our mistakes can get a whole lot louder, which is why checking our facts before we share information online is really important. Before you fuss with your spelling and your grammar and before you click Update, Post, or Send, please make sure what you are sharing is valid. Or at the very least include in the comment that you aren’t sure. So when you see on Twitter that Jon Bon Jovi is dead, maybe you will pause and think for a minute before you share.

Currently, people are sharing two things about Shell Oil that are hoaxes/parodies. One is the website that is made to look like a crowd-sourced ad-campaign gone wrong for shell:

A hilarious parody, but a parody nonetheless. I was sent this site by no less than 25 people yesterday, and I love them for considering me to be the brand fark-up Sherpa, but every time we share something that isn’t true, it can hurt our credibility. (Shell has decided not to sue them, for now.)

Think about it. When you find out you’ve been conned, you feel stupid and you raise an eyebrow towards the person that originally told you. It hurts trust a little bit. It’s not as bad as forwarding the Bill Gates sends you $1 email, but you still want to smack the person with a Snopes tshirt.

Then came along the Twitter account @ShellIsPrepared and most people are taking the bait:

Parody accounts are actually protected on Twitter, if it’s an obvious parody. To some this is, but as you can see above, to a lot it isn’t. It’s not the fault of the people reacting, but the fault of brands behaving so poorly that it’s actually believable that one would do this.

So, my fellow social media speakers, take out the screenshots of this from your talks about social media going wrong, unless it’s to show how spreading fake events is bad for the people who do the spreading :)

Nobody is perfect, but instead of trying to be first to spread something around, try to be the first to confirm it.

+++++The entire Bon Jovi fiasco is a chapter in my new book “The Book of Business Awesome/The Book of Business UnAwesome” including references to at least 5 classic Bon Jovi songs and the book itself is a flip book. Let’s see Gladwell do that!