Yesterday, Mike Wise of the Washington Post and The Fan wanted to prove a point about how people use Twitter, and how people will believe anything a credible source tells them on the social network. For his experiment, he tweeted out some fairly believable rumors that he had fabricated, and watched as several respected sources ran with the news. Then he had to apologize (“I’m sorry you felt that way”) for his irresponsible journalism and being an idiot.
Abusing the trust of his followers and the Post’s social media guidelines does in fact have its consequences, as Wise just announced on his radio show that he will accept a one-month suspension from his employer. He was trying to point out that the Twitter universe has a different sense of credibility; all that he proved was that many journalists still don’t get how this culture works.