Why do people pass on items before scrutinizing them? Some members of my Tweeter gang regularly Tweet press releases from such sources as Science Daily as if they were news. Then these Tweets are reTweeted and the peeping and chirping and crowing of Tweety birds grows louder and louder.
In a post from Arstechnica, the practice of treating such aggregators as PhysOrg and Science Daily as news was criticized:
[I]n a large number of contexts, these two sites are treated as credible sources of scientific information. Items posted there make frequent appearances on social news sites, and a number of people I've talked to have been shocked to discover that the majority of the sites' content is nothing more than rebranded press releases.
Ultimately, the job of editing and of peer review is to help ensure that only scientifically valid data and ideas end up in the literature. The job of the press should be to ensure that the public only receives reports of equal quality (or better, since the press can act as an additional layer of filtering). Unfortunately, with the rise of the press release, and of aggregators that disguise press releases as news content, the public is not being well served in this regard.
Aggregator problem reinforces the need to understand and filter before passing on. A new virtue for the 21st century!
A new virtue. I like that suggestion. Wouldn't it be nice if people did some digging prior to Tweeting? Even chickens don't eat