Danger of blog rumors

The rumor game can mislead a lot of people. All day long I was hearing about MyBlogLog being acquired by Yahoo. Turns out it’s not true (the original TechCrunch article has now been updated).

Lately I’ve been telling people that I start out very skeptical about what I read in blogs and my skepticism goes down after 24-hours. I find that if something untrue is reported on blogs that the company usually lets the blogosphere know (and they should!)

But, if something is true? They stay quiet.

One other thing? Never expect bloggers to do fact checking or original reporting. Even me. But if a blog survives 24-hours without anyone refuting the facts? That’s when rumors turn to belief.

Comments

  1. Rumors can turn to belief much faster when the MSM inexplicably treats whatever they read on blogs as factual and presents nonsense as real news.

  2. Rumors can turn to belief much faster when the MSM inexplicably treats whatever they read on blogs as factual and presents nonsense as real news.

  3. “Lately I’ve been telling people that I start out very skeptical about what I read in blogs and my skepticism goes down after 24-hours.”

    Well, maybe, but that’s still just changing your level of belief.

    Why don’t you look instead at what source evidence the writer presents? Instead of going on faith, why not try observation…?

    jd

  4. “Lately I’ve been telling people that I start out very skeptical about what I read in blogs and my skepticism goes down after 24-hours.”

    Well, maybe, but that’s still just changing your level of belief.

    Why don’t you look instead at what source evidence the writer presents? Instead of going on faith, why not try observation…?

    jd

  5. Not all bloggers are amateurs, as you should know.

    I think it’s irresponsible to dismiss the rumour mill. Treat it cautiously, yes. Don’t take one source’s word for it (which goes in journalism too). But research has proven that 86% of what you’d classify as gossip is actually true. That’s not something to be sneezed at, which is why people like to weigh in with “I heard this today and here are my thoughts if it’s true…”

  6. Not all bloggers are amateurs, as you should know.

    I think it’s irresponsible to dismiss the rumour mill. Treat it cautiously, yes. Don’t take one source’s word for it (which goes in journalism too). But research has proven that 86% of what you’d classify as gossip is actually true. That’s not something to be sneezed at, which is why people like to weigh in with “I heard this today and here are my thoughts if it’s true…”

  7. “Lately I’ve been telling people that I start out very skeptical about what I read in blogs and my skepticism goes down after 24-hours. I find that if something untrue is reported on blogs that the company usually lets the blogosphere know (and they should!)”

    BWHAHAHAHAH!!! That’s funny. You may do that, but yet it doesn’t seem to prevent you from posting then cleaning up the mess afterwards. Because as we all know, with you it’s all about getting links and rankings.

  8. “Lately I’ve been telling people that I start out very skeptical about what I read in blogs and my skepticism goes down after 24-hours. I find that if something untrue is reported on blogs that the company usually lets the blogosphere know (and they should!)”

    BWHAHAHAHAH!!! That’s funny. You may do that, but yet it doesn’t seem to prevent you from posting then cleaning up the mess afterwards. Because as we all know, with you it’s all about getting links and rankings.

  9. I beg your pardon Scobles.. did I hear you correctly ??

    “any mainstream news outlet should fact check before publishing.They are “pros” where bloggers are amateurs”

    the “SSR syndrome” will exisit in both MSM and blogosphere, however this does not mean that reporters and Bloggers dont make mistakes even after factiod checking and certainly it does not mean that bloggers even if amateurs can’t fact check !!

  10. I beg your pardon Scobles.. did I hear you correctly ??

    “any mainstream news outlet should fact check before publishing.They are “pros” where bloggers are amateurs”

    the “SSR syndrome” will exisit in both MSM and blogosphere, however this does not mean that reporters and Bloggers dont make mistakes even after factiod checking and certainly it does not mean that bloggers even if amateurs can’t fact check !!

  11. [...] A few months ago, at around the time he left Microsoft, Robert Scoble bemoaned the fact that most bloggers, even those that consider blogging a form of journalism, “rarely call before writing.” He added, “It’s something I hope we can change. Call before running the story. It’s what great journalists do.” At the time, I commented that a willingness to pick up the phone isn’t just something that great journalists do — it’s a baseline requirement for any kind of journalist. Alas, it looks like Scoble has changed his mind. In a recent entry, he commented that one should never “expect bloggers to do fact checking or original reporting. Even me.” Sorry, Scoble. You were right the first time. Bloggers who take their work seriously do plenty of original reporting. Om Malik, Rafat Ali, Josh Marshall and Andrew Sullivan are among the A-list bloggers who publish original work on a daily basis. And while it’s true that all cut their teeth in the MSM world, that needn’t be a prerequisite for doing your own reporting. The fact is, if bloggers want to be taken seriously, they need to take themselves seriously first. And that means disproving the myth that all bloggers are pajama-clad slackers with their fingers perpetually hovering over Ctrl-C — not giving in to it. [...]

  12. [...] Today Robert Scoble, in a comment, is calling bloggers, “amateurs” — a word I’ve used myself often enough — and mainstream media journos, “pros”. This is happening all over. The penny seems to have dropped that the confined world of the blogosphere is not Dick Whittington’s London Town, where the streets were paved with gold — in his imagination at least. [...]

  13. Paul’s got a good point, on company-related news… if the key speaker is not speaking, then you’ve got to state how you know what you say you know. (And no, “authoritative sources” is not a good enough claim on other peoples’ attention.)

  14. Paul’s got a good point, on company-related news… if the key speaker is not speaking, then you’ve got to state how you know what you say you know. (And no, “authoritative sources” is not a good enough claim on other peoples’ attention.)

  15. I’ve seen the opposite; if something is untrue, but generates buzz for a company, they are usually more than willing to let the rumors (and links) fly.

    The new tech-media outlets (TechCrunch/GigaOM/Valleywag) are obsessed with breaking news, to the point where they seem to be dismissing with due diligence. Perhaps it’s just the nature of the medium, and we need to adjust our truth filters to have a 24 hour time delay.

  16. I’ve seen the opposite; if something is untrue, but generates buzz for a company, they are usually more than willing to let the rumors (and links) fly.

    The new tech-media outlets (TechCrunch/GigaOM/Valleywag) are obsessed with breaking news, to the point where they seem to be dismissing with due diligence. Perhaps it’s just the nature of the medium, and we need to adjust our truth filters to have a 24 hour time delay.

  17. Robert: For a while now, I have been reading your blog. With you and LayZ it’s an ongoing soap opera. Is Layz a real person or your own alter-ego?

  18. Robert: For a while now, I have been reading your blog. With you and LayZ it’s an ongoing soap opera. Is Layz a real person or your own alter-ego?

  19. Just because they don’t want to lose users to their near competitors in their niche..Don’t u agree?

  20. Just because they don’t want to lose users to their near competitors in their niche..Don’t u agree?

  21. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with reporting rumour as long as it’s described as such. Anyone unable to deal with that should get out of the reading game. Provided no one loses an eye, reporting a rumour as such could be a very good thing – it might allow others in the community with better sources to verify or refute the rumour, for example. The problem is with representing unverified information as ‘fact’.

    And I think there’s loads of original reporting being done by bloggers now (one of your trackbacks lays out the common examples, but there are loads of others), enough that it’s probably fair to start wondering whether in some cases the distinction between blogger and media is more semantic and historical than anything else. (This, obviously, is not a new concept.) For the rest, well, what do people expect? They’re conversations – their main purpose is to convey opinion and rumour. I mean, if you want milk, find a cow.

  22. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with reporting rumour as long as it’s described as such. Anyone unable to deal with that should get out of the reading game. Provided no one loses an eye, reporting a rumour as such could be a very good thing – it might allow others in the community with better sources to verify or refute the rumour, for example. The problem is with representing unverified information as ‘fact’.

    And I think there’s loads of original reporting being done by bloggers now (one of your trackbacks lays out the common examples, but there are loads of others), enough that it’s probably fair to start wondering whether in some cases the distinction between blogger and media is more semantic and historical than anything else. (This, obviously, is not a new concept.) For the rest, well, what do people expect? They’re conversations – their main purpose is to convey opinion and rumour. I mean, if you want milk, find a cow.

  23. [...] A propos of a post or two I wrote this week that fastened on the (to me, anyway) intriguing development of competition in the valley among blogs for tech news scoops, Scoble wags his finger at the kids about loose lips sinking ships – Hey kids, it’s fun until someone loses an eye! – in this case over the MyBlogLog story. Is it just me, or is Scoble starting to sound like your best friend’s Mom? [...]

  24. [...] Yahoo’s Tentacles Spread Into Blogosphere — MyBlogLog Gobbled Up! November 17th, 2006 at 4:28 pm by Tony UPDATE: Sounds like MyBlogLog’s acquisition announcement was a bit premature; TechCrunch announced a bit of a retraction / update; thanks to Mat Ingram for letting me know. Tsk-tsk to me for updating this post 24h later (which, according to Rob Scoble has allowed to transmutate it into fact; my apologies to anyone who has mistakenly witnessed this miracle of truth). [...]

  25. Wait, so now your judgement of accuracy is time without a retraction or correction?

    Robert, admit it. You don’t care if it’s accurate, only that it generates hits. Come on man, that’s the only explanation other than your head is full of fuzz.

  26. Wait, so now your judgement of accuracy is time without a retraction or correction?

    Robert, admit it. You don’t care if it’s accurate, only that it generates hits. Come on man, that’s the only explanation other than your head is full of fuzz.

  27. I like the 24-hour approach as far as at a personal-belief level. I’m curious as to how other people guage their level of trust when it comes to rumors. I even started a thread at WebProWorld based on your post.

  28. I like the 24-hour approach as far as at a personal-belief level. I’m curious as to how other people guage their level of trust when it comes to rumors. I even started a thread at WebProWorld based on your post.