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Michael Jackson’s death today lead to many in the Twittersphere retweeting (RT’ing) stories about the subsequent deaths of actors Jeff Goldblum and even Harrison Ford.

I’m sure the shock of MJ’s and Farrah Fawcett‘s deaths, and to a lesser extent Ed McMahon‘s earlier in the week, threw some people off, leading them to report anything. This example of how Twitter can be used to break “news” is not a good one, to say the least. In fact, it shines a light on how people can mindlessly spread rumours before they’re fact just because it was tweeted bunch of times.

Admittedly I was intrigued by the Jeff Goldblum report, so I retweeted a post that shared my skeptical views:

InSeansOpinion-JeffGoldblum

Even RT’ing something like that made me feel a little sick, so I went on a Twitter search. I then find a bunch of people RT’ing messages about Goldblum’s driving off a cliff in New Zealand where he was filming a movie.

Here are a few examples of the tweets surrounding Goldblum:

jeffgoldblum-death-twitter

I clicked on a few links provided in tweets but the none of the sites ended up working. I tried a few more times with no success before I did a Google search, which came up with nothing either. Finding it fishy the entire time, I came back on Twitter and saw a celebrity tweeting something useful for once.  Kevin Spacey, of all people, (hopefully) put the rumours to rest with his tweet:

KevinSpacey-Tweet

In closing, I’d just like to say before you tweet something with a link, make sure the link works, for one. Don’t retweet something because you want people to think you’re up-to-date, or you want have your post RT’d again, or want to get more followers. Spreading rumours like these make Twitter’s reputation for news gathering, that much more shaky.

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I recently checked out my Twitter stats on TweetStats.com, a great site if you want to see how your Twitter usage breaks down. In one of the tabs at the top, it lets you see a “Tweet Cloud”, with or without @replies. I noticed the option to make a Wordle, like the ones below, of the Tweet Cloud. It’s a cool site that lets you input any text into clouds that look far more interesting than these below.

This first Wordle is for my Twitter account, as if that wasn’t plainly obvious thanks to the big “rt“:

twordle

Next up, I decided to copy all the text from my blog entries to see what it would look like. As you can see, I like to write about people and social media quite a lot:

Burnafterblogging Wordle

The downside is, like I said, I had to go to my site and copy all the text from my posts. The Wordle site lets you input a link to your website, but I think it only takes what’s on the main page. I wanted my entire content looked at so unless I missed something, I had to go copy it all myself.

Have you ever gone to a Jays game and wished you could get wifi access? I mean, it IS called the Rogers Centre; the MLB logoleast they could do is give fans free access to the Interwebs.

I was watching the news last night and  saw an ABC piece by Becky Worley that just so happened to talk about wifi access at a Major League ball park – what a coincidence, yes?

San Francisco’s AT&T park offers fans access to free wifi and based on a little research, I found they’ve offered it since 2004, when it was then known as SBC park. So, since it’s been offered to fans for about five years, why do a story on it now? When I was searching to see if other ball parks offered wifi, I found the answer.

Recently, a streaming video update to the iPhone/iPod Touch app, MLB.com At Bat 2009 was released. If you watch the news piece you’ll cleverly see the Apple devices in a few of the shots with people using the new app.

If I didn’t think the wifi story would make a cool blog post, I wouldn’t have thought twice about searching for the new app. I wonder if the public relations people at MLB.com  got the coverage they desired? Sure it was completely positive, and it showed people using the app on their iPhones, but the name of the app wasn’t mentioned once.

Is that lack of a mention irrelevant given the other positives of the story? Am I just splitting hairs between good coverage and great coverage? What do you think?


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I now blog at inseansopinion.com full time. Please visit me there for movie and book reviews as well as any other commentary that comes to mind.

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