It was the kind of story that social media bloggers love. Lawyers at an old economy company were ordering fans to “cease and desist” from showing their love for the brand in user generated content. In this case, Ford was barring Mustang lovers from using pictures of their cars in a calendar.
Great story. Except that it wasn’t true.
As Shel Holtz wrote, Ford denied the report, saying it was actually the supplier, CafePress, that wouldn’t print the calendars. But after one blogger published the initial report, dozens more piled on in judgement, without ever calling Ford for comment.
If I were working for a newspaper today, I would still call Ford. If I had opted to blog about this over the past couple days, I would not have. I’m as guilty as anyone else. (And thank goodness I passed on this story.)
Another example over the weekend: Fred Wilson calls out a couple of “journabloggers” for quoting people without checking the facts, then Michael Arrington of TechCrunch goes after Wilson for saying his own post was “conflicted and wrong.”
Do bloggers make more mistakes than journalists?
Is the burden of accuracy different?
Are the consequences of making mistakes in a blog any less significant than in a newspaper or TV report?
These are some of the issues I’ll be discussing this weekend at Podcamp Toronto in a seminar with my former Globe and Mail colleague Mathew Ingram. Since we are both bloggers who have also worked as journalists, we may be coming at this from a particular point of view. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on these questions.