We are all reporters now
At this point in time we may be rewriting history by spreading nonsense as fact. The more it spreads, the more it will be seen as the truth. What are you creating with your contributions?
We are unpaid reporters who see the world in our own unique way. It's awesome that we can write or share whatever we are most passionate about. Often a headline will grab our attention and we'll share the story or comment on it, without even reading it. It's quick and easy; a stress reliever and a fun way to socialize on social media. Could it also have unforeseen consequences?
It can be difficult in these social media obsessed times to step away from the habit of sharing drama and nonsense in return for likes, shares, comments and hearts.
Is our ego leading us as we seek validation and attention when we share emotionally charged but untrue stories as factual? It's a quick pick me up when we are feeling lonely or bored or sad. And it can be addicting.
It doesn't matter if it's not true, it COULD BE true!
Are you sharing untrue stories because you agree with the message in the story? Then share a fable, not an article that claims to be the truth. Sharing sensationalized stories can also lead to vilifying the innocent or creating fear and making it look like bad things in the world are much more common than they really are. Is this what you want to create now and into your future or rewrite into history?
Es Tu, Huffington Post?
When the Huffington Post began the practice of allowing anyone to post to their blog section early this year with no need for editorial approval, the risks of sharing an article containing inaccurate information increased. Sharing unread articles on social media that appear to be coming from legitimate sources can cause untruth to spread quickly as it takes just a second to click 'share' on an article with a tantalizing headline.
Thankfully applications to the 'Contributor Platform' on Huffington Post closed in October of 2016. Those who got in before its closure are free to post whatever they want without anyone checking their articles first so be aware of this. For those who joined this platform, they simply upload their article and within minutes can add one of those 'As Seen On Huffington Post' badges to their website as their article appears automatically.
While this is ego gratification at its best, what is the true cost? And how much credibility do the 'real' writers and reporters on Huffington Post now lose when this platform has the potential to be abused by those who previously couldn't get their articles published?
How can we create to positive change?
On the flip side, as of November 2016, Google and Facebook have committed to banning fake news websites from accessing their ad services. Perhaps this change will cause the fake news to appear less often so that it is harder to share. But we still need to take each article that we see online with a grain of salt. Each of us has a responsibility to the history and the future we are creating with each tap of the keyboard.
What are some steps you can take to be a valued contributor?
- If you're looking for a way to contribute your unique voice on social media, then be willing to spend the time to read an article instead of just reading the headline. You'll learn more and get a better handle on whether or the not story is legitimate and worth sharing. And tell people why you are sharing it too along with your unique views on the story.
- Take a second and see if others are reporting the story as true or false. Snopes.com is one place to check. But don't rely on just one source. Have a peek around the Internet.
- Do a gut check. Before sharing, ask yourself a couple of questions. Does this story feel true? What am I creating more of in the world by sharing it? Is that what I really want to create?
- And finally be willing to see what your online contributions are bringing to the world. Are you sharing to feel better about yourself? If so, would you be willing to feel better by infusing your life with people who enjoy your company and with things that make you smile, laugh and expand your awareness? And would you be willing to see yourself as amazing already?
If we all created and shared stories from that space, what do you think we could collectively create in the world? Wanna find out?
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