They’ve killed people, ruined marriages, tried to start wars, and successfully started revolutions. Who are these ruthless criminals? Of course, the people of Twitter. Twitter has long been a place where vicious rumors spread like wild fire as “cable news correspondents” break the news to their 150 followers. This past weekend, college football fell victim to the felons of the Twittershpere.
The story broke when a broadcast journalism student from Western Kentucky shared 136 characters: “There are rumors that LSU head football coach Les Miles will step down on Monday after allegedly having an affair with a student. Hmm…” What happened after was wildfire. The students twitter followers increased from 250 to 30,000 almost instantly and Les Miles became a nationwide trending topic and was found guilty in the court of public opinion.
Luckily for Les and the LSU faithful, true journalism was hard at work trying to corroborate the story. And by the wee hours of the morning, after several cautionary cocktails, the news was confirmed as a rumor. It was a mistrial. This brings us back to a theme in social that is becoming all too familiar even to the recreational user. If you want the news first, Twitter is unmatched. If you want the news correct, well that’s a completely different ball game.