I really don’t like calling out other bloggers on factual errors.
Analysis errors? Yeah, I love calling out folks on that, be they blogger or mainstream. But when I call out someone for not fact-checking, I really prefer they be Old Media.
Every time a blogger makes hay from a story based in factual error, it means I look bad, since I haven’t worked for an Old Media organization since 2002 (I made the transition back to full time New Media guy since then).
Since I wrote my correction this morning, only TheNextWeb was big enough to issue an update (and the update was issued within minutes of my post going online).
Bad information is still propagating around the Web because of these now irresponsible bloggers.
Sometimes, I think I could make a decent living just being the Internet’s ombudsman. What’s even sadder, the rest of the Web could make a much better living being right more often, and doing a little bit of fact checking – or just Googling it.
To the right is the traffic spike I got just for correcting the error on those posts.
Want to know what I did to find the truth?
I read. And clicked. And read a little bit more.
I was reading the comments on Gizmodo, and some random commenter was insistent that there never was a Windows 7 themed episode. That rang a bell in my mind, so I went and looked up the original Variety article that I vaguely remembered coming out as the story broke. A bit of clickthru forensics showed that it was, in fact, where the story broke, making it the authoritative source.
I didn’t follow the link trail all the way to the Gizmodo article. I didn’t have to. By reading the original Variety post with those filters on, I was able to tell where the mis-information came from.
This isn’t a unique skill. Human brains are built on pattern matching. Everyone can do this.
It just requires clicking a bit more than most folks tend to do.