It follows that with the rise of the internet, we’re all publishers. And thus we should be all be our own fact checkers too…
I don’t know. Someone I follow (Stephen Fry) retweeted the following the other day:
I read the linked-to article, thought it was interesting, and hit retweet. A friend complained about lack of sources but I was sick and couldn’t be bothered to argue so just took a nap instead. The following morning she tweeted something again about “spreading misinformation”.
This is someone who retweets labour politicians, who (like all politicians?) are known (to me) for having a difficult relationship with the truth. An argument ensued, in which I was likened to a tea partier. A link disputing the the link was provided, I read it, and duly shared it.
I share a lot of things on Twitter. Some things are funny, some things are beautiful, some things are interesting. I don’t fact check – especially since, I was retweeting Stephen Fry not Fox news. I don’t see myself as a news source, more as part of a conversation.
Both websites are hideous looking with light text and a dark background. The first one now includes the disclaimer that Jedi are not counted as religious (which is good). Neither is a newspaper, or official government website.
For me the point remains discussing, firstly because just because the governments didn’t do that doesn’t mean they won’t (great article on politicians misusing “evidence” by Ben Goldacre), and secondly because those of us who have no religion should not be ashamed to say so. How far away is saying “it means nothing so I’ll put Jedi” is “it means nothing so I’ll just put Christian”?
Anyway, this has got me thinking about fact checking. If the bar for anything “interesting” must change to “interesting and accurate”, then as I have a day job I’ll have to just stick to funny or beautiful things. If there’s an interesting article summarizing an academic paper, I doubt I’d have the time or inclination to read the paper in discussion and all those cited as supporting evidence. If there’s a political opinion piece I doubt I’d find time to read all opposing opinions and related economic research. I tweet a lot of women in tech stuff – I don’t know what’s right, but I do think we need to keep talking about it. But perhaps I should wait to be absolutely sure of what’s right, and meanwhile it’s better not to say anything at all.
Or perhaps I could just stick to what I’ve been doing. Make no promises about accuracy, I don’t claim to be a journalist, just that I found something interesting and thought others would too. And people can feel free to disagree with me, and hopefully, if they must insult me, come up with something more creative than “tea partier”.