October 31st, 2006

YouTube, Google, and Rumors vs. Truth in the Blogosphere

by

Mark Cuban posted an interesting theory about the YouTube/Google deal from an “anonymous author.” The self-described “experienced veteran in the digital media business” characterizes the theory like this:

Some of this is based on talks with people involved and some is speculation based on my experience working in the industry, negotiating settlements and battling in court.

I call it a theory because it’s completely uncorroborated. Unfortunately, the blogosphere is treating it as if it were true (despite passing nods to the lack of corroboration). I can appreciate the impulse to treat the story as fact — it’s filled with salacious details of conspiring with the music industry to sue competitors and deny artists fair compensation from settlements.

As Dan Blank and Mathew Ingram point out, it doesn’t matter that the theory “rings true” — it could all be entirely made up.

The blogosphere is a tremendous force for spreading rumors and, in some cases, disinformation — this story’s “truth” or lack thereof may well be surfaced by the blogosphere as well, given the countervailing force of self-correction.

I won’t get into the whole blogging vs/is journalism debate — let’s just leave it at this: please make sure to blog responsibly.

  • hmmm...this whole thing is pretty troubling. Cuban's become a "trusted source" in the blogosphere, and could be using that trust to manipulate people. Even more troubling are the sycophants who seem to want to repeat what he's blathering about because he's Mark Cuban...and not for any other good, rational reason

    if anything, this should teach us to take a second look at some of the folks that we've come to see as "authorities" and investigate whatever it is for ourselves.

    oh, just noticed your MyBlogLog community thing...yeah, know the guy who developed that. :-)

  • Thanks for drawing that distinction between belief and agnosticism, Scott. I suspect this may be one of the most critical problems we face today: "How do you know what you say you know?"

    (Message length is another issue that seems critical in these blogosphere pile-ons... Cuban's post is very, very long, without an intro summary or other good accessibility... Nick Carr seemed to boil the issues down to a few short orienting paragraphs. Filtering long stories into a few key accessible ideas is one of my current tests of a useful description of the world.)

  • It certainly seems to have a lot of truthiness.

  • "If it isn't true, it should be" :-)

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