Last week we watched the first piece of dirt fall in what became the Mike Anderson-to-Arkansas avalanche of Twitter activity when Chris Lincoln, sports anchor out of Tulsa, dropped his now infamous tweet confidently predicting a press conference that didn’t happen until 72 hours later. As noted last week, Lincoln deserves no credit for “breaking” a story that wasn’t ready to be broken, only credit for having his piece of Twitter slop stick to the wall.
Now the situation has been reversed as Mizzou is in discussions to snatch Purdue’s Matt Painter and, with the status updating hour-by-hour, the abuse of Twitter by the mainstreamers has kicked off again. This time with Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News firing the first notable blow last night.
At least Dick knew when to step in and stop himself from making definitive claims about events that are not definitive…
Weiss’ now deleted tweets give a clear peek into how a premature story takes off in 2011 – regardless of whether its true at that given time…
Post #1 confidently proclaiming that the deal is done gets retweeted well over 100 times and helps make the name Matt Painter a trending topic on Twitter
Post #2 claiming that he is incorrect and confirming that this is what he’s hearing from a “friend” gets retweeted 34 times meaning significantly less people who heard the first post got wind of the second.
Post #3 drops the old qualifier in there to save the day, saying this isn’t a done deal, only what he is hearing. Retweeted a whopping six times.
In a shocking revelantion, we see that the masses care about the big news, no one cares about the clarification that the big news wasn’t true.
Dick Weiss is a well-respected reporter (despite the hair) that has covered the sport of college basketball for over 40 years. He was once the president of the College Football and Basketball Writers’ Associations and is a member of the college basketball writers’ Hall of Fame. It’s a safe assumption that he wasn’t attention whoring via this whole display.
But even those who have never set foot in a journalism class can understand that it’s probably not a smart move to drop a bomb in this new media world unless you’re prepared for it to explode instantaneously.
If only they could take a tip from bloggers and learn that it’s best if no one takes you seriously.