If you had to choose one person to narrate the movie of your life, it would have to be Morgan Freeman, right?
The man could give to you the play-by-play of a cock fight over a telephone with a bad connection and it would sound like he was describing two gentlemen quarreling over the latest Jonathan Franzen novel.
When it comes to verbal eloquence, there is nobody better.
Unfortunately Freeman’s verbal eloquence doesn’t parlay into the world of online diatribes. This might come as a shock to the thousands of people who have shared this on Facebook, but Freeman didn’t pen that statement about the Sandy Hook shootings that you have undoubtedly seen by now. That honor goes to a guy from Vancouver who correctly predicted his stance against the media’s handling of the tragedy would go viral once it was attributed to somebody more famous, like Betty White or Morgan Freeman.
But we have never let facts get in the way of the message we want to share. Sometimes we even eliminate the pesky “facts” that block our intent.
You’ve probably seen this comic strip on Facebook:
It’s obvious what your Facebook friends are trying to convey by sharing this comic strip, but did you know it is missing a panel?
The two panels you see above were clipped out of the full strip, seen here:
It was created for a website called Chainsawsuit.com. The third panel certainly changes the message your Facebook friend intended when they shared it, eh?
The guy who drew the comic is named Kris Straub. When he found out his work was being shared without his consent or giving him credit, he explained why it hurts his livelihood.
Somewhere along the way, somebody thought it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to crop this down to something that suited what they wanted to express. That last frame just got in the way of the message. And after all, it’s the Internet; it’s not like anybody is going to notice.
But as Straub writes, there can be real consequences to sharing false information.
Like Gini Dietrich talked about yesterday on her blog, all of us who use social media have a responsibility to be sure that the information we are disseminating is accurate. And because it’s just on Facebook doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.
During last week’s tragedy, we jumped on the media for reporting information that later turned out to be false. We claimed we were never going to turn on FOX News and CNN again. But we are just as reckless when we click on a Facebook ad that promises two free tickets on Southwest Airlines.
By falling for the ruse, we expose it to everybody else in our network. It soon becomes a vicious cycle, taking up space in our minds as truth.
Maybe we need to take the same tact with those on Facebook that we took with the national media: shutting them out entirely.
It’s one way to start.