How to Manage Twitter During News Worthy Events

Social media networks like Twitter and Facebook have been a huge boost to information spreading. More than once, I've seen Twitter get ahead of the regular media channels like television when it comes to breaking events. This can be a great thing but there can be some drawbacks when it comes to sharing information on your social networks. Before you go to rush sending or retweeting something, here are three things to double check before you push out a notification to your followers.

Verify before you Retweet

One of the worst things about Twitter is the desire to be "first" on a breaking event. We all make mistakes when we RT things, but there are some people who will see buzz around a topic, go to a Google images search, and retweet an old or incorrect photo of something. Before you hit that send button, make sure that the image you are sharing isn’t from a prior event being incorrectly associated to something current. Additionally, make sure whatever tidbit you are about to send is true. The University of Washington recently published a study that showed the rapid spread of misinformation in the wake of 2013’s Boston Marathon Bombing.

Credit the Right Person

As images and updates start to make their way around, sometimes the image ends up not getting credited to the right person. Recently, a striking photo was taken from a Frisco Rough Riders game and was tweeted out by a local news organization. The picture gained traction quickly and even landed on the front page of the popular sports blog, Deadspin. The problem is that the image wasn’t sourced to the person who took the picture and originally posted it. When a photo is posted, unless otherwise stated, the rights to that photo are from the original person who sent it out and failing to properly credit could land you in copyright trouble with Twitter.

Check the Timestamp

It’s important when you’re sharing information during a newsworthy event that you are only sharing the most recent information. During severe weather awareness week, the National Weather Service conducted a test of retweets and Facebook shares with a “mock” tornado warning. The good news was that the message reached over 800,000 people on both networks – the bad part was that was over a time period of twelve hours, when the average advance notice on a tornado warning is 15 minutes. Before you hit the RT button, take an extra second to see how old it is. In terms of a tornado warning, if it’s older than thirty minutes, it’s out of date and doesn’t need to be sent. It’s the same with any other breaking news event – things change quickly and before you retweet, you need to ensure that you’re sending only the most recent updates.

Do you pause before you hit the send button? What do you do to make sure that being first doesn’t mean that you are sending out old or incorrect information?

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AccuConference | Resources to Help You Lead Better

Resources to Help You Lead Better

Two books I read recently that I think everyone should read - especially if you're in business today.

Good to Great, by Jim Collins, is a stellar book, full of interesting insights from Collins, who is a really good writer (which helps make the book what it is) and from his research team, who compiled mountains of information about Fortune 500 companies. The book doesn't cover them all, but concentrates on 11 standout companies, including Kimberley Clark and Walgreens. I liked the thoughts Jim presented on leadership and how companies navigated through their tough years (and their good years). I like the true inside look at a company through the eyes of an outsider who is trying to find best practices. It's a good read, and full of information for leaders and other managers involved in building a company.

From the Publisher's Weekly review, "While the companies that achieved greatness were all in different industries, each engaged in versions of Collins's strategies. While some of the overall findings are counterintuitive (e.g., the most effective leaders are humble and strong-willed rather than outgoing), many of Collins's perspectives on running a business are amazingly simple and commonsense. This is not to suggest, however, that executives at all levels wouldn't benefit from reading this book; after all, only 11 companies managed to figure out how to change their B grade to an A on their own."

Another great read has been around for quite some time. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. I know what you're thinking, you already read it—zip, bang, and boom. Moving on. Whoa there. Hear me out. This book offers some really good ideas about leadership and generally being an all-around balanced person. This guy knows what he's talking about. Just consider that perhaps it's time for a revisit and read one chapter. Good books are meant to be read many times, not just once (and not just skimmed through in five minutes so you could pretend you knew what everyone was talking about when the book first came out).

Amazon's reviewer writes, "Before you can adopt the seven habits, you'll need to accomplish what Covey calls a "paradigm shift"--a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works. Covey takes you through this change, which affects how you perceive and act regarding productivity, time management, positive thinking, developing your ‘proactive muscles' (acting with initiative rather than reacting), and much more."

Just two really great books worth your time. I love business books, so more to come in the future.

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