What price is a retweet?

Back in the dawn of Internet time, there was a place that anyone could go, make their own home, and share their thoughts and views of the world from there. This was a land called Geocities, a place where people could create their own web page. It was big, and kinda popular, but it had one flaw.

It only really appealed to people that wanted to know how to build websites. Therefore not many people decided to build websites in the land of Geocities. Basically not enough people cared. Ideas might have been read, but there was no quick and easy way for ideas to be shared.

Years past. Geocities mostly faded into memory, social networks came and went, and then in the middle of the last decade, the two big boys arrived. Between Twitter and Facebook, the option of having an Internet presence became a reality for a lot more people. Somehow these two companies found a way to present themselves as accessible, easy to use, and something that the general population could really get into.

Quite simply, posting online was not just an activity for the geeks of the world anymore. The opportunities to share your voice online are more varied then I could have guessed or cared about 15 years ago. The ability to “retweet” or “like” an update also lets us share ideas easily.  The thing is, does it sometimes feel a little to easy?

Has clicking “Like” or hitting “Retweet” become our new way of not just showing support but also taking action? Are we at risk of becoming a society that comments from afar, think we’re doing good, but avoids any sort of personal cost?

I also wonder if we’re getting good at passing the message on. There are positives to this, when April Jones was sadly taken. Social Media networks were awash with her images, thousands of people wanting to get her face out there. There is a danger here though, that we become so keen to help that we don’t check the facts first. As a consequence we pass on a message that is not as positive as we’d like.

About.com has a small collection of urban legends that have been spotted on Facebook.

Do you see your friends passing on messages that aren’t true? Do you challenge it, or just let it go?

 

This is a modified version of a post that originally appeared on The Big Bible Website.

2 Replies to “What price is a retweet?”

  1. I recently challenged a UK personality for retweeting a slur on a christian charitable organisation. All I got was a pile of DM abuse, both from the personality and the original tweeter; together with the suggestion that it was perfectly OK to make up a quote and attribute it to someone on the grounds that you thought they might have said it, even if they hadn’t.
    I think I challenged gently, because I believed that the personality in particular could have drawn real grief for themselves had they done the same thing to different people. It’s about protecting your ‘friends’. For the same reason, I always comment when I see urban legends being propagated (I use Snopes.com).

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