Mike Wise decided to do an experiment. It's analogous to the kind of "experiment" a kid might do in dropping a glass of milk to see if it will fall. He knowingly Tweeted false information to see if other media would copy it. Gasp! They did. In its ceaseless pursuit of poetic justice, The Washington Post suspended Wise in turn.Washington Post sports columnist
He Tweeted "Roethlisberger will get five games, I'm told," talking about the NFL quarterback, who was suspended for six games. Sure enough, some in the media did RT it, though very few and those who did mostly credited him. So, you know, dumb. He admitted as much.
Grand-standing about the unreliability of Twitter transmission or of journalism is about as daring as taking a stand against shotgunning kittens. But Twitter is as huge among sports figures as it is anathema to sports organizations. So perhaps the power of the tool in his context seemed to justify the attention he devoted to it.
Still, it begs the question, are social media tools so much different than any other media? Maybe yea, maybe nay. But every new way of speaking to our friends, peers and fans requires some sussing out. This is a painful step in that process. What does it teach us? Being a tool in one medium is not unlike being a tool in another. Companies don't like it when you make them look like tools. Credibility is no less valuable in one medium than another.
What do you think about how we use social media tools in terms of our day jobs? Is the world of sports, of entertainment, of media, different than others in quality or quantity? Does the ethics of social media go through a color shift depending on where it's used or by whom it's used?
By the way, are we sure Roethlisberger's charges of "sexual misconduct" are not maybe more important than the credulous media's relationship with Twitter? I get my coffee money from it if not my wages and I'm still pretty sure (alleged) rape (the police declined to arrest him) trumps Twitter. Maybe Wise should have stayed on point. After all, we media boobs may buy into another reporter's (alleged) credibility, but apparently the NFL believes one of its multi-millionaires (allegedly) attacking a 20-year-old girl is worthy of a suspension, instead of impalement. Well, it's not like he took steroids, right?