STITCH SOCIAL MEDIA TAKES ON SHARE MONGERING *MUST READ*

Share Mongering is as it sounds - using social media to spread misleading and often damaging stories. Current events, celebrities and religions are often targeted, and the stories will most likely have a title similar to that of this blog. Now here's why it's damaging to your reputation, your security and social media in general.

We've all come across clickbait, and a lot of us have probably fallen into the trap - whether we admit it or not. Clickbait is online content with the main purpose of getting you to a specific web page, which is made all the more likely by provocative titles and descriptions that are intriguing or bizarre enough to work. Now, giving your weekly blog a title which entices in an audience is only smart, and that's not what we're addressing here. The problem comes when the intention as well as the content on the other side of the link is negative, misleading or completely fabricated.

Buzzfeed reports that while average engagements on hoaxes like this generally declined in 2015, they are back on the increase in 2016. The detailed report sheds a light on the sheer extent of fake news stories spreading on Facebook despite the crackdown on these appearing on your News Feed. The article, which is well worth a read, presents information that suggests the social media giant is fighting a losing battle.

Where engaging with this kind of content can damage your personal or business profiles is the credibility of both the news story and the website that it's presented on. Clicking on something yourself is one thing, but encouraging your audience to do the same will disrupt the trust between your brand and customers, and ultimately lead to people disengaging. More often than not, these hoaxes are designed to divide opinions, and whether or not you want to be sharing opinion pieces on your profile, fake or otherwise, is something you will need to consider alongside your brand guidelines. In general, we would recommend staying away from doing this, but some of the most effective social profiles are those that defy conventions and say what many people are thinking.

Being unfiltered has been both a blessing and a curse for social media and the internet in general. We're not subject the same dilution of news that we were when relying on only traditional media, making platforms like Twitter ideal for breaking news with no bias. While this is all good, we're also subject to stories, comments and content that can be spread without review - presenting the danger that it can be untrue and potentially damaging. Like everything else, you have to take the good with the bad.

So how can you avoid falling into a fake news trap? As with all social media presence, we advise careful consideration about what you share. Inspect the links, and if it's something you don't recognise or see as reputable, keep on scrollin'. Take information with a pinch of salt, and if you're really intrigued or want to check out the truth of a matter, that's what search engines are for. A handy tool to keep you right is Fake News Watch - a webpage dedicated to updating you on fake, clickbait and satirical websites, although if you're sharing satirical stories believing them to be true, there may be no hope for your social...

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Yours safely,

Stitch.

 

Website Editor