Verify BEFORE you Sharify.
What does that mean? After all, sharify is not a real word. Then again, neither is trickeration, but you hear it on college football broadcasts all the time. But I am not gonna get off the topic at hand. I’m talking about verifying details of items, news or otherwise, that you see posted on social media before you share it with the world. Why? Glad you asked. I’m gonna tell you.
The internet is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to getting news out to the masses. Back when I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, the closest thing we had to the internet was a “party line”. Especially if you grew up in the country. Ask your parents or grandparents about a party line. “Party lines provided no privacy in communication. They were frequently used as a source of entertainment and gossip, as well as a means of quickly alerting entire neighbourhoods of emergencies such as fires, “ You had no clue of you were hearing the truth of it someone was just spreading rumors for anyone to pick up on.
Flash forward to more modern time. When news events and emergencies occur, folks almost immediately pounce on the Internet to see what information they can find. Which is a great idea. Except some folks, either because they don’t know any better or worse, have a warped sense of humor, decide to make a situation worse because they twist info, or MAKE UP info.
Last night, as I was preparing for bed, the police scanner app I have on my phone alerted to a situation in Las Vegas. Now that in itself was not unusual, as Vegas has a moderate amount of police traffic that generates listeners. This one was different. I saw the description of “Shots Fired, many down at Mandalay Bay”. As soon as I opened the app and started listening, it was easy to see that this was no false alarm. The important thing to do? Let people know what was going on without doing what a lot of media types do, which is go on air, and speculate, since they don’t have a clue what is going on. So what to do? Here’s is what I do, and sould suggest to you, so you can verify and sharify.
Verify your information
- Find a legitimate source of info. The best source I have found and can recommend is Broadcastify.com as a source of police scanner chatter. That way you can actually hear what the police are saying. No need for someone to tell you what you are hearing.
- Use USNPL.com to locate local area newspapers, TV station or Radio stations so you can hear from LOCAL reporters, not national folks flying in just to put a public face on it for their media outlet.
- Find local social media accounts, specifically a local law enforcement agency or local Public Information Office, or official city account. They will have the latest and most accurate information. I prefer Twitter since it is easier to retweet or embed a tweet elsewhere.
Once you have gone through that checklist, it is time to SHARIFY the info
- First of all, when you post something about a news story or event, TIMESTAMP IT. Put the date and time you are posting the info to keep someone from looking at your post hours later and thinking that you are posting about a current event.
- Share the link to the site you got the information from. That way, you are sending your follower to a specific site rather than taking your word as holy writ.
- Only share official info, and tell folks where you are posting it from. That way, they can go look at that source and decide if that is what they consider valid.
- Be careful sharing images. Image manipulation is a very simple process these days. How many times have you seen images of tornados or hurricanes as they destroy something, forgetting that the storm hit at night, and the image you just shared is taken at midday.
Remember, it is more important to share CORRECT information in a timely manner, rather than trying to be the first to share information whether you know if it’s true or not. And let the media sources you share speak for themselves, rather than having a presenter add their take and/or speculation.
To close out, I am sharing links to two recordings I made from the Las Vegas police scanner last night via the Broadcastify app. They were recorded live as the shooting unfolded.
Thanks for taking time to read this. I hope you will always try to VERIFY before you SHARIFY.