Friday, June 11, 2010

TOUCHDOWN - RUSSELL CROWE IS NOT DEAD YET

This week's perspective from Joe Chidley:

Gosh, but that darned Internet can be a dorky thing sometimes. Never more so than when a rumour takes on a life of its own and becomes a “meme” (an annoyingly precious word whose use in the blogosphere has become, well, a meme in itself). Anyway, the rumour this time round was that Russell Crowe had fallen 50 feet (note the detail, an essential element of a complete fabrication) down a precipice in Kitzbuhel, Austria, while filming his next movie. Where the rumour started is anyone’s guess, but at mid-week it was all over the place – until that bastion of journalistic integrity, UsWeekly.com, called up Crowe’s people and discovered that the actor was alive, well, and nowhere near Kitzbuhel. Old technology (telephone) to the rescue. Shockingly, it turns out that not everything on the Internet is true. In fact, some unscrupulous operators will publish just about anything to generate traffic, and the recent “meme” of fake-celebrity-death reports (Bill Cosby, Justin Timberlake, Paris Hilton, and on and on) is just one more sad example. From a broader communications perspective, though, it matters. If you end up the subject of Internet scuttlebutt, it’s crucial to be able to distinguish the credible online sources from the incredible ones—and to pay attention to who’s really listening to whom. That’s the kind of intel you’ll need to develop and executive an effective response. Anyway, a Touchdown to UsWeekly.com, for not being completely lazy and idiotic.

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