FYI… Verify!

“If the truth is there, bad writing won’t hurt it!” This quote made famous by Alfred Adler means to me that if what you are writing is in fact the truth, then the way in which you write or present the information has little impact on how people perceive the truth. When you log in to your preferred social media site, or tune into the top trending news stories, how do you know the content you’re absorbing is factual? Should people really believe everything they read?

The main difference between a verified account and verifying content on social media is that when you verify something you see, trace it straight back to the original source. You research and use reliable information to aid in the verification process.  A verified account on social media means that person has been checked out by the platform itself and really are who they claim to be. The verification of content on social media is very important. Whether it be news and politics related or just a post pertaining to something you care about, it is crucial to not only rely on what that source claims but to double check for accuracy yourself. No one wants to be armed with false information or reports.

Everyone has their own version of verification. Comparing the three given sites and after critiquing the processes of differing styles of verification, I personally believe CNN has the more solid, stronger strategy. CNN uses iReport which was described by a CNN spokesperson as “the most developed and active citizen journalism platform of any news organization worldwide.” When they get reports flooding in, the way they verify the information works well for them. First thing, contact the contributor- get straight to the source. After confirming the source of the report is real, they move on to validating the foundation of the information in the story. They use outside resources, locals, and the CNN international desk to help identity and verify the facts. CNN calls their verification process vetting.

When it comes down to all the different ways we have to verify a source, generally most companies, bushiness, brands, and average Joe’s all verify content the same way. You first look at who or where the source came from and use a variety of different methods to do this. After validating the source, you verify the facts. Search for similar posts, pay close attention to details such as the time and date of post, cross reference their social media platforms. With the availability we have to easily access information online in the 21st century, there should be no excuse for fake news! Filter what you find.

In many instances, people associate being first with being the best. However, in the case of social media content, it is always better to be right rather than first. Say for instance that you’re a social media manager for a top news organization. There is a breaking story and your competitor beats you to the punch of getting the information out to the public first. But, what if their information is not all that accurate? Taking the time to verify all the facts and report on real issues is more important than being the first to publicize it. Of course, many would agree to some extent that you should always think before you post. Is what you are saying completely true to the best of your knowledge? Are you accurately sharing information that has been through the vetting process and passed? Are you stating facts and not giving your personal opinion? As long as you have verified the sources and original content base to be true, share away!

If for some reason I unknowingly re-posted false content then no, I do not believe I should be held liable. Now, if that same scenario was applied to a journalist or reporter then the answer is yes, they are completely liable because like I previously mentioned, there are so many ways to verify content these days and journalist have a greater duty to fact check than someone like me, re-posting a story unaware of its false pretenses. When I share or re-tweet content that does not necessarily mean I have went out of my way to verify the information before personally posting it. Usually, if I re-tweet or share something it’s because I had some type of reaction to it, positive or negative. As a social media manager, the job responsibility entitles them to not only spread the word but seek the truth. So, attribution does not absolve them from spreading false information to the public, especially when their job entails them to verify all content.

To have a verified account is very valuable as a business and brand. When you are promoting something as a verified account, it reassures your followers that you are a legit site and all the information you post is valid and factual. A verified account gives people peace of mind.

On The Outside Looking In

After documenting my daily life, I have come to the sad realization that my accurate life has the ability to bore anyone to tears! Comparing my accurate day to my unfiltered day, there are a couple noticeable differences. My unfiltered day is simple, basically consisting of parts of my daily routine like first thing in the morning waking up and looking out the window to see the weather, going to and from class or places around the library which lately has felt more like my second home. My filtered day is composed of much more interesting and appealing photographs. I include a selfie and a picture of a friend whereas in my accurate day I do not introduce pictures of myself or other people.

My accurate day is just that… accurate. Besides eating, going to the gym, showering and sleeping, pretty well everything else I do on a daily basis was documented in my unfiltered day photographs. Even in my filtered photos, there is not a noticeable change of scenery. I took the same type of photos just with added filters, different lighting and angles to make it intriguing to the eye and inspirational to the mind. Visually, I try to practice presenting myself through a unique, different perspective. I do not enjoy posting a hundred pictures of myself but rather I’ll post something out of the ordinary, comedic or alluring.

Honestly, considering what my classmates may think about my average life affected my photos more than I would like to admit. I have always been an advocate of being yourself and not to let society’s judgemental status dictate who you are. However, the way you present yourself through social media says a lot about who you are in “real life.” I think it is pretty safe to say that we all worry about how people will perceive us. We put a little too much thought into our posts rather than something that seriously matters such as politics or schoolwork. I have never been one to be super consumed about what people may think my life is like on the outside looking in on social media.

I may seem to be contradicting myself here when I say that I, just like everyone else, prejudge people based solely on the pictures they post on social media. For example, if you are a selfie queen and post multiple pictures of yourself everyday then I would easily assume you are conceded and have nothing better to do than bless social media with your presence. Dependent upon my relationship to the other person, I still tend to judge more harshly than I know I should. I feel like humans are programmed to judge quickly; your first impression is everything and social media makes no exception.

The slide show of my “daily life” is definitely just chipping away at the surface of myself. I am not the type of girl who post what I am doing every second of every minute of every day. If I think I have something that people would enjoy seeing or reading, then I will share it. While preparing for this slideshow presentation, I would have to say thankfully, I did not experience any ethical concerns while documenting my daily life.

Twitter in the Twenty-First Century

Twitter was born in 2006. Eleven years later, I created a Twitter account for the first time when my Social Media class started. Although I have only recently become a tweeter, it did not take long for me to learn how to navigate the site. Friends, celebrities, businesses and everyone in between uses Twitter as a relaxing social media outlet to stay up to date on the latest news, sports, fashion, humor and almost anyone you can imagine seems to have that famous @username tag. Hashtags became well known through Twitter. Since you are only allotted 140 characters, hashtags make it easier and more convenient to get your point across quickly. Trends change daily, and they are based on your location. A few things trending today are Beyonce, #TrumpOnBlackHistory and #JustCantSayNoTo. Hashtags are a fun, different way to express yourself.

Brands, businesses, celebrities and even the President of the United States use Twitter as a way to bypass the media and communicate directly to people, promote their products, upcoming albums, book signings or even to raise awareness about a specific cause close to their hearts. Brands like to use Twitter to keep their message short, sweet and to the point.

How top brands are using Twitter as a social media platform is huge. The fact that retail is the largest industry that receives the most engagement does not surprise me. Big retail brands like Wal-Mart or Target use Twitter to promote their sales and products. This platform seems to have a bit of an age target market. Although anyone who can run a computer can create a Twitter account…. compared to Facebook, Twitter seems to be the more youthful and playful platform of the two. Certain things you tweet, not to mention the way you tweet, will result in the reactions you want. Using all capital letters, hashtags, and using the word ‘you’ seems to boost people’s numbers. I believe that if you stay fairly consistent with the way you post, followers will like that.

The very first brand I followed on Twitter was Intrepid Travel. This brand is literally just a page that posts nothing but beautiful, awe inspiring pictures of places all over the world. I followed them first because traveling is a huge passion of mine and in my spare time I enjoy scrolling through things like this because it forces me to become more imaginative; picturing myself in that place and being immersed in the diverse culture, language and surroundings brings me joy. Plus, it always gives me new ideas of different places I would have never dreamed of traveling to until I saw it on Twitter and was intrigued to do further research.

After scrolling through much of my Twitter feed, there were three particular stories or posts that stood out to me the most. The first was a picture from Fox News covering President Trump’s first one hundred days in the White House with a hashtag #First100 which caught my eye; this post was quick to read and allows me to gain more knowledge about current events without actually watching it. The second story was a link posted by the New York Times including a photo that boldly read, “Truth. It’s vital to democracy.” They linked their website with the post and this certainly got my attention because as an aspiring writer with an interest in politics, I strongly agreed with their message. The last story that stood out to me was Nat Geo Travel who shared a “dazzling video of glowworm cave in New Zealand.” With the bright photo of the glowworm cave and the caption telling people to check it out really intrigued me. All three of these stories would be very easy to research and write about because they all have accessible information on the internet and are important brands or television networks with top stories.

Out of my six tweets, my top interaction was when I retweeted a funny post about dentists and tweeted at my friend who is in dental hygiene school and she liked it. I noticed that when I tweet original content it never gets much reaction. My engagement on Twitter is dryer then the Sahara desert right now. To whoever reads this, feel free to follow me @anw1313. You would be greatly appreciated.

My advice to you whether you are brand new to the Twitter world or you’re an experience tweeter, the best practices for this specific social media network is keep it short, use hashtags appropriately, add pictures, videos, and links when necessary and don’t think to much about a tweet unless of course you are tweeting to people from a business or brand’s account.

Honestly, I plan to utilize Twitter as another way to stay connected and in the loop with friends, famous people and articles I have a peaked interest in. Twitter can assist you with doing homework because for instance, if you had a class that requires you to stay informed on all the latest news then write a detailed report, Twitter would be an excellent outlet to use. Or in my case, it can be useful when you are enrolled in a Social Media class and must use Twitter among other social networking sites to engage and interact with followers. Twitter is a great way to spread your name and brand to get recognized. The more followers you have, the more famous you become.

In the short amount of time I have spent on Twitter, I have learned that it is a great tool to use to sift through information, posts, and people that pertain to you. It also allows you to be a bit creative without going overboard. For me personally, this is just a more laid-back version of Facebook and I am slowly but surely starting to appreciate that. Twitter seems timeless right now, but technology never takes a day off.