Predictors, Media Deceptions, and Facebook Firings… what a month!

posted by Brendan Hodgson

It’s a mad, mad world out there, what with the historic events that have recently transpired (U.S. elections) or continue to transpire even as I write (financial meltdowns). But a few things are deserving of mention, if only because they’ve raised my eyebrows, or because they’re something in which we’ve been involved, including:

  • No rest for the weary. Not even a month after one election is done, and the 2008 federal election predictor put to bed for another year at least, than we’re back with a fully-loaded, francophone-only version for the provincial election campaign now underway in Quebec. Packed with all the usual predictor-y goodness, you don’t need to speak french to give it a whirl – so have at, and congratulations to our HKDP brethren in Quebec for supporting the predictor for another round.
  • If the media can’t be trusted to root out the big deceptions, who can? Bloggers? But can you even trust them anymore? As Dan Mirvish, one of a pair of filmmakers behind an internet hoax that fooled even the most august media outlets, articulates so appropriately about the current state of the media during hot issues or crises: “With the 24-hour news cycle they rush into anything they can find.”

    The problem being that virtually anyone can set up a similar hoax during the heat of a crisis or campaign. Consider the ingredients, as set forth by the Times: “Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.”

    Not only did the hoax fool the folks at MSNBC, who were quick to acknowledge their mistake, the hoax also took in The New Republic, Fox and The Los Angeles Times. Of course, bloggers, who are meant to be the new media watchdogs, also did not emerge unscathed: “…most of Eisenstadt’s victims have been bloggers, a reflection of the sloppy speed at which any tidbit, no matter how specious, can bounce around the Internet. And they fell for the fake material despite ample warnings online about Eisenstadt, including the work of one blogger who spent months chasing the illusion around cyberspace, trying to debunk it.”

  • In the words of Pete Seeger, when will they ever learn… when will they ever learn? Hard to say who’s to blame here or here… Is it the employees for not considering the implications of their actions, or the airlines for not educating their staff (many who are of the digitally native vintage) or providing appropriate guidelines for social media usage.

    Andy Lark, who notes that it was “Virgin that sponsored the Delta Airlines blogger that was fired for inappropriate behavior”, makes an interesting point over at his blog, suggesting that with the right coaching, the issues raised by employees could still be raised but under circumstances that would be more beneficial to all involved – passengers included. What that requires, however, is a much clearer understanding across a variety of fronts – HR, legal, communications, and executive management – of the risks and opportunities posed by social media both inside and outside the enterprise.

2 Comments
14

Nov
2008

Leadership

A quote by John Gardner: Pity the leader caught between unloving critics and uncritical lovers.

02

Dec
2008

latin america

Great Post! I am planning to write sometihng like this on my blog! I want emphatize this to Latin American Market! Keep it up! PS: Already Bookmarked!

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