Let’s get one thing straight, I love social media, which is why I elected to write about it. However, sometimes social media is its own problem.
In case you haven’t heard the gibberish, rumors quickly circulated online, Facebook and Twitter that Facebook had decided to shutdown on or around March 15, 2011. When I first read this, the first thing I thought was: some moron said something completely ridiculous and people bought into the ridiculous notion. Seriously? Are people that gullible to believe that Mark Zukerberg would really shutdown Facebook because it’s too big and gone “out of control”? Or, maybe it’s because the movie, The Social Network, is coming out on DVD and Blu-Ray Zuckerberg is depressed about it? Or, maybe it’s because Zuckerberg fears MySpace might make a comeback? Wake up!
After people took to the Blogosphere and Twittersphere to spread the news, the rumor was further compounded when The Huffington Post published a post about the false report. According to an update by the HuffPo, ABC News believes the following article from Weekly World News is to blame.
The viral conundrum
The beautiful thing about social media is that it empowers people. Therein lays the problem too. I recall a while back Chicago-based United Airlines had its own PR crisis when it upset guitarist David Carroll by breaking his guitar, ignoring his complaints and forcing him to post a nice little music video that became a viral sensation. To date, the video has about 9.8 millions views. And for the record, I participated in that viral party by posting the video on my own blog; I am a guitarist and felt sympathetic.
It was a beautiful moment because showed how people could support each other. In this case, it was a fellow flyer that was fed up with horrible airline service. Producing an entertaining music video certainly helped get his message heard loud and clear and also encouraged others post it everywhere.
There was also the JK Wedding dance procession video that went viral and a week later the wedding party recreated the wedding procession on the Today Show. To date, the original video has over 60 million views, now THAT’s something.
It is this empowerment and ability to share our opinions, what we love, news, or just about anything else that makes social media a wonderful thing. But this is also the root of the problem. When people take things for granted and amplify them across the web, it creates a problem. Across social media, each of us what to be a resource and we retweet, re-share on Facebook, publish on Tumblr, or any other network without even reading the story. I’ve been guilty of doing this too. But real resources know the facts and stick to them.
Know fact from fiction
Let’s think about this for just one second. This week, Facebook received a $50 billion valuation, reports speculated that a Facebook IPO is coming in 2012, and it received $500 million in funding. All of this begs the question: WHY would Facebook shut down suddenly? Furthermore, why would anyone believe this and spread the false claim?
All anyone has to do is look at a few headlines on WeeklyWorldNews.com to recognize it’s a kind of National Enquirer. I implore people on social media to read through the stories they share and to not be so gullible.
Let’s all work together to spread facts and less the fiction.