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BLOGBlog and Social Media Errors [updated]

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Blogging, Communication, Content, Make It Happen TipsheetTagged as: ,

Have you ever seen a mistake in someone else’s blog or social media post?  Or maybe you’ve been a victim of this yourself?  

Blog and Social Media Errors [updated]

It could be a simple typographical or grammatical error, a case of misattribution, or a more serious case of factual error.

Unfortunately, blog and social media errors happens far too often, for some very obvious reasons:

  1. Some content is dictated and the speech-t0-text software sometimes gets it wrong.
  2. Editing is done in a cursory fashion, or sometimes, not at all.
  3. Fact-checking, a staple of traditional publications, is rarely done for online content.  (And it is rarely done for traditionally published content these days either.)
  4. A post relies on a third party for facts, when, in fact, the third-party’s content may not be correct, or worse, the third party site may have relied on yet a different non-corroborated third-party source.
  5. A post is designed to misinform, mislead, or obfuscate the truth, often for nefarious reasons.  (“Fake news”)

A few examples:

  • In a post entitled Six Top Thought Leadership Articles, the original, uncorrected post included some text that incorrectly said, “Here are sex posts that explore these concepts.”  The feedback was instantaneous (and a bit embarrassing).  Needless to say, I fixed this very quickly.
  • In a recent Facebook post, I “quoted” the very prolific Albert Einstein, who said “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”  Unfortunately, Einstein actually never said this.  (Hat tip to Larry Goldberg and others who pointed this out.)  In this case, we relied on third-party sites, who relied on other third-party sites within the world web web echo chamber.

Mistake repair strategy:

  1. When quoting a person, whether they are alive or dead, double-check the accuracy beforehand.  www.quoteinvestigator.com is a great place to start.
  2. Edit/correct the post if possible.  If not, add a comment acknowledging the error.
  3. If the post is of lower value, and there are no comments attached to it, delete it entirely.
  4. As a courtesy, circle back to the source of the error and advise them of any necessary changes.

THIS WEEK’S ACTION PLAN

The fact that errors do creep in begs the question of the quality of your content editing and review process.  This week, consider whether any of your errors were random or can be traced back to a systemic issue:  is it time to upgrade your editing process? Or add some fact-checking?

Can you find the error in this post?  Yes, there is an (intentional) error in this post – did you happen to see it? Look for “speech-t0-text” within the post: the word “to” is spelled with a zero instead of an “o”.

Finally, a hat tip to the talented Daniel Wolgelerenter, a professional editor and copywriter, for going through earlier versions of this post.

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