Experts & Insiders 8/25/2010

E&I: Why Social Media Should Not Replace Real Journalism

 

E&I: Why Social Media Should Not Replace Real Journalism

BBPR Social Media San Diego PR Marketing

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the story of “Jenny Dry Erase” a woman who quit her job for various reasons that most people seemed to applaud her for (at least most of my friends on Facebook).  And if you’re like many of my friends (and myself included), you thought the piece was real… or almost real.

Well, it wasn’t. See here for Tech Crunch’s follow-up.

Jenny was a hoax… like the Taco Bell buying the Liberty Bell (something a previous agency I worked at came up with – but I was not involved in the campaign).  The company involved fooled a lot of us with “Jenny Dry Erase”.  Or just me and my friends. I feel a little ripped off because they didn’t sell me something in the process… but I digress.

“Jenny Dry Erase” is a prime example of why we should never allow real journalistic-based media to go away.  Media outlets that check sources, follow-up on leads and vet ideas for newsworthy-ness prior to even considering them for publication are incredibly important.  Sites such as Wikipedia are great for looking things up, but whose to say that 10 minutes before you looked up “public relations” I didn’t go on there and make a post about BBPR or all of the great work we’ve done (some of which can be seen here).

What’s real anyway?  Many people agree that you should support “official” charities rather than say, give money to a homeless guy on the street.

Bill Byrne San Diego action sports PR

But how do we know this guys family really wasn’t killed by ninjas?  Ok, they probably weren’t.  But how do you know guys with more believeable signage are really homeless veterans or are going to spend the money you give them on food instead of booze, etc.?  You don’t.  But at the same time, we’ve seen in the news that not all charities are what they appear either… but since they seem more official, some people are more comfortable supporting them.

Now I’m not saying that everything media outlets publish is factual or without slant.  There are things to consider, such as personal agendas (CNN is very different than Fox News and Transworld SURF is different from Surfer, etc.), advertisers and the influence of PR people (ahem).  BUT, before you begin citing what’s on the SLAP message boards or Joe Blog.com as fact, keep in mind that you may really know where this information is coming from or if the person behind the writing has a personal reason for creating the content.  What’s their track record for reporting the facts, embellishment and/or glorification of sensationalistic stories?

BTW – this is NOT a slag on bloggers.  We work with online media… bloggers and others… regularly.   Just wanted to draw attention to this recent example of how something posted on the Internet was assumed to be true… because it was posted on the Internet and looked “nice.”

If you believe this, we have a $20,000 a month retainer contract just waiting for you to sign!

If you believe this JPG, we have a $20,000 a month retainer contract just waiting for you to sign…

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