In the last couple of years, social media has been discussed through and through in India. From celebrities taking to social media like fish to water to brands trying to use it to improve their customer services, social media has gripped all alike. Then there are people like Gursimran Kaur who have tweeted through her delivery which was more for the need of telling her twitter mates rather than a publicity stunt.
This is not all… From the Mumbai terrorist attacks to the recent 7.2 earthquake in Pakistan, news comes to Twitter in a flash. Often times than not breaking news comes on Twitter’s and Facebook’s of the world rather than on traditional media!
But can you believe anything and everything what people say on social networks?
I have seen people asking the basic of all questions on Twitter from simple ones like getting a job to much more difficult ones like finding the best doctor for knee surgery in Pune. Yes I agree that it’s a user generated content community and all of us help each other, but is the information always reliable?
Here is an example – There was recent ammonia gas leak in a place in Kolkata. The tweet had come from none other than Derek O’ Brien. It was retweeted many times. Obviously well and good since it warned people to take pre-emptive action right? But interestingly even after Derek told not to retweet any more since everything was ok, people continued doing the same and spreading fear amongst citizens.
There have been similar events on Twitter with respect to companies, brands, celebrities etc.
Is it the desperation to become famous? Is it the need of being recognized?
Wikipedia is the largest online encyclopaedia in the world laying claim to all the information on the planet. And again it is user generated and edited. So obviously there is a high probability of errors cropping up here and there. Though there have been many editing and unforeseen errors, interestingly there have been many errors purposely created. From demeaning political parties to colleges to brands, even though Wikipedia claims to have a very strong editor base with a very high accuracy percentage, can it be completely trusted?
Facebook, with a potential user base surpassing many of the social networks populations together is a prime source of information and arm–twisting of information too. From viruses which proclaim “This girl died because her father saw her status message” to discussions which may seem trivial at first but maybe quoted by news agencies as their source for the news they produce, the line between the reality and fiction has blurred.
User generated content has all the advantages of greater reach, cheaper cost and fast speed across the world. But can you believe all that is written by someone who you may have never seen or heard from, with a blind eye?
I don’t think so!