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The Social Media Whirlwind


On Thursday, the Minden City Council appointed Councilman Joe Cornelius as interim mayor — and social media went crazy.

The Minden Press-Herald posted the information on its Facebook page, and the comments began rolling in on both sides of the issue.

There is no denying that social media is a major part of many’s lives. However, there are pitfalls with putting everything thought and reaction “out there.”

The episode reminded me of a similar (but different) situation involving a college football player’s injury.

University of South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore was injured on a play as the Gamecocks played the Tennessee Volunteers Oct. 28. Lattimore took a helmet to the knee during a tackle.

The ensuing tweets and other posts from people around college football feared the worst. While there was no “official” word for many hours, reports began to surface that Lattimore had broken his femur bone, and torn several ligaments in his knee.

Later that day, the university issued the following statement:

University of South Carolina junior running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a significant impact to the front of his right knee during the Tennessee game on Saturday. The ensuing hyperextension of the knee resulted in injury to several ligaments. There were no fractures or additional injuries, according to team physician Dr. Jeffrey Guy. Lattimore’s surgically repaired left knee was uninjured during the play.

Not exactly as extensive as many had thought.

The whole experience teaches a valuable lesson about social media. You can’t believe everything you see, regardless of how credible the source seems. Many of the speculative tweets and posts were reposted by local sports folks.

In a world of “names behind keyboards,” opinions and “facts” can be easily taken out of context. People will hit “enter” on comments via social media that they would never say face-to-face. Those of us reading those comments should keep that in mind. Many things that are posted are not the “Gospel truth.”

Things are not as bad as social media presents it. People are not as mean as they appear on social media. A comment may simply be a knee-jerk, unfiltered reaction.

Social media is a great tool for sharing information, but we must also remember it is an unregulated source. Verify before you retweet/repost or comment. You never know how your post will be taken by others.

David Specht Jr. is President of Specht Newspapers, Inc., and Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. Follow his blog at www.DavidASpecht.com

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.