Twitter Rumors

Posted by Sarah Sager

Twitter has been the source of many rumors, especially false death reports. Including #RIPChrisBrown, which was trending earlier today.

Unfortunately, on Saturday, Twitter got it right. That afternoon there were tweets reporting Whitney Houston’s death mere minutes after she was pronounced dead. At the peak of Twitter’s reaction, there were 1,179 tweets per second being sent.

Photo by asterix611 (Flickr). Licensed under Creative Commons.

To avoid this Twitter faux pas, there is one question to ask yourself before tweeting. Have you heard it from a credible source?

Your brother’s best friend from five years ago, has this ex-girlfriend who says such-and-such passed away…not exactly the most credible of sources. Look for a press release or a tweet from someone like The Associated Press. Another option is to (hold onto your hats, this is kind of crazy) call a credible source involved in the situation.

Think before you tweet. If there is any doubt, do not post it.

Twitter rumors happen at least once a day. Why do you think Twitter is such a rumor mill? Do you have a favorite rumor? Let me know in the comments!

11 responses to “Twitter Rumors

  1. This is so true!!!! I feel like anytime I look at what’s trending, its RIP so-and-so, often a celebrity. Then I click on it, and all the tweets that pop are something like “RIP [blank] people need to stop this, he’s not even dead. people should make trends like this.” Um…. WHY ARE YOU CONTRIBUTING THEN?!

    It’s drives me nuts! haha

    But then other times, like with Whitney Houston, it was true. It’s newsworthy, so it should be spread, but yet, like you mentioned, you should always be aware of your facts first.

  2. These days where social media is so prominent in our every-day lives, news can spread so quickly whether true or false. It is extremely important to check the facts first before posting anything, as mentioned in class, “the truth can save you.” It’s also good to remember not to believe everything you read, even if it’s on Facebook or Twitter.

  3. I just tweeted about the RIPChrisBrown tweet and just think it is crazy how many rumors actually get started via Twitter.

    Although a little off topic, what I think is interesting is that so many people our ages don’t take ‘Twitter talk’ seriously. I have friends who (regardless of my advice) use Twitter as a place to blow of steam and get things off her chest. She just recently said to me, “everyone wants us to have a Twitter, but they get mad when we say things they don’t agree with.”

    What do you guys think about that?

    • I have noticed people using Twitter like this and I never understand it! You can, of course, put whatever you like on Twitter. But, how does it look to the rest of the world when your page is filled with passive aggressive rants and complaints?

  4. I think it’s a mistake to use any form of social media as a forum for blowing off steam. Even if you’re usually a calm and collected person, one inappropriate comment or tweet can really harm your reputation.

    I agree with Erin; it really bothers me when I click on a trending topic about an apparent death, only to find thousands of people contributing and keeping the trend alive by tweeting about how it is false. Just stop tweeting about it, and it will no longer be a rumor.

    I follow a few comedians/writers that will tweet “RIP [enter famous person here]” as a joke to see if their followers will believe them. For example, I saw one the other day that said “RIP Kim Kardashian.” She is obviously still alive, but they do it to rile people up. I think it’s a pretty morbid joke.

  5. This is a great idea to blog about. Right away when it was trending that Whitney Houston had died, I was sitting with my roommates and I told them about how she had died and how I’d seen in on twitter. One of my roommates didn’t believe me, she was like: “Oh you saw that on Twitter, I doubt it’s true. Somebody new is always dead on there. The other day RIPChrisBrown was trending.” This creates a problem for when there really is a topic that needs to be discussed, because then sometimes people don’t believe it.

    I think it’s super interesting to discuss why people think it’s okay to start things like that? I think maybe they just think it’s funny?

  6. I was scrolling through Twitter on my phone before a movie when I saw all of the Whitney Houston tweets. I tried finding information about her death from sources like Huffington Post and NBC, but they had little to report. I knew that while I was watching the movie Twitter was blowing up. I think it’s important to break news, but not at the expense of jeopardizing the truth. Not necessarily in this case, but truth was definitely compromised in the Joe Paterno’s early death fiasco. Reporting accurate information should be the number one information as journalists and because Twitter is available for anyone in the world, truth can be compromised.

  7. I agree. Because Twitter is available for everyone in the world, and not just credible journalists, we cannot always trust it. That is why we have to be responsible and encourage others to be responsible about tweeting, as well as posting on other social media sites.

    And as far as Lauren’s question goes, I used to agree with that statement. Some previous professors have required me to get a Twitter account and to tweet as much as possible. Yet, they get upset about some of the things we tweet and the fact that we may be tweeting during their class (which is contradictory of them if you ask me). I’m definitely beginning to understand, though, about our future professional lives and how things we say now may come back to bite us. I think if you want to be able to express yourself freely, then create another, more professional account that is accessible to anyone. The other, more personal one should be visible only to close, trusted friends.

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