15 Apr It’s on the internet so it must be true!
So after a year of yelling ‘FAKE!’ at my facebook friends and getting into heated discussions, I have decided to just blog about it. The last two years have seen my Facebook friends fall prey to a slew of satirical stories, nonsensical news and counterfeit competitions. With the rise of blogging and a thirst for clicks and advertising revenue, sites have sprung up all over the internet with the sole purpose of duping users into sharing sensational stories.
In order to preserve my sanity I took it upon myself to observe the people that actually need help – the target market. It wasn’t long before I was able to spot the patterns. I interacted with them, noted their responses and followed their changes in behaviour and patterns. Why you may ask? Because one of the things we do for a living is run social media accounts for businesses so it helps to understand our target market.
Meet the sharers
DISCLAIMER: Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental 😉
- The emotional sharer
Driven primarily by their emotions ‘shock, sadness, anger, disappointment, excitement
Reads mainly headlines then reacts
Logic is not a driving force in their social interactions
Thrives on drama
Upon realisation of their error, they react with slight defensiveness
- The dogmatic sharer
Motivated by a very dogmatic opinion (religious, political or personal)
Concerned with making a point more than factual accuracy
Will defend a post to the bitter end
At the ‘bitter end’ above the will still seek to justify the false post by saying “things like these do happen”, “but my point still stands…”
Usually will not take their post down because – see point 2
- The simple sharer
Not very internet savvy
Struggles with the meaning of ‘satire’
Falls for the simplest of scams
Usually shocked when told that their post is false
Wonders how they did not spot it
Happy to take it down
So if you have a ‘friend’ that falls into one of these categories I have a couple remedies below for their itchy re-post finger
Social sharing tips
- Give yourself time:
If you lengthen the time between reading something and sharing it, there is more time for common sense to set in. Then you start asking yourself questions like, does this story make logical sense? Is it well written? Is it from a credible source? Would Mark Zuckerberg actually donate £1?
- Read the comments:
Most stories come with comments. You can easily see what others are saying and most times there is a voice crying out in the wilderness on behalf of common sense. Let that voice be your guiding light.
- Google the story:
Cut a snippet of the story out and drop it into Google followed by the word hoax, then check the first 5 links that come up.
- Test the story:
They are not the be all and end all but snopes.com is pretty good at giving you the history behind these posts. Check it out, it could save you embarrassment (except if you are a dogmatic sharer of course, then you are immune to embarrassment).
- Investigate the source:
If the post came from a website, check the about section of the website, they usually tell you its purely for entertainment.
NOTE: If they do not have an about section, that also might be a warning.