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When word of mouth takes a turn for the worst

Posted by: | April 19, 2016 | No Comment |

By now we can all understand the power of word of mouth. It allows use to spread information to each other and keep up to date on current events. And with the technological advancements we have today, word of mouth is more powerful than ever with information being able to be sent within seconds. 

But what happens when the information that is spread quickly from person to person is false?

Sometimes our ability to spread and share information as simple and fast as hitting “tweet” or “share” can backfire and lead to more harm than good.

urbanlegends.about.com

urbanlegends.about.com

A funny but excellent example of when word of mouth can take a turn for the worst is the immense amount of celebrities who have been ‘killed’ by social media.

I don’t know about you, but when I see someone tweet “RIP *insert celebrity here*” I immediately search news sources to see if the report is factual. There have been numerous celebrities who have been declared dead on the internet when in fact they are alive and well. These include Justin Bieber, Usher Britney Spears, Cher, Morgan Freeman and Russel Crowe to name a few. Luckily, some celebrities are able to find humor in the matter.

urbanlegends.about.com

urbanlegends.about.com

While some can see through these false reports, sometimes even top news sources get duped by false celebrity death rumors. In the case of Morgan Freeman, CNN allegedly broke the news via Twitter about the beloved actor passing away. The tweet was then shared by numerous people, including other news sources. While there is suspicion as to whether or not CNN actually tweeted the statement then deleted it or if CNN was hacked, this instance still illuminates an important issue that comes with the power of word of mouth.

These instances teaches us a lesson in the importance of citing and checking your sources, as well as the old saying “don’t believe everything you read.” Especially in today’s age when anyone can post something and claim it to be factual news, it is easy to be fooled by rumors and false information.

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