The power of sharing

Just as I was writing my post yesterday – Did you really share that online? – another incident was playing out on the US stock market:

Associated Press Tweet

The chart above shows the impact of a single tweet from the Associated Press twitter account on the stock of Apple, Google and Microsoft as well as the NASDAQ and Dow Jones indexes. That dip right in the middle was all caused by a single tweet.

The tweet reported, falsely as it turns out:”Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.”

This wasn’t news at all, it was a hack, and Associated Press had to move quickly to quash the false information.

What this demonstrates, again, is the power of the tools that we have available to us to communicate information rapidly. The real power that caused the impact wasn’t, however, with Twitter, it’s with Associated Press as a trusted source of news. The tweet only had an impact because of where it appeared to come from, but it only had an immediate impact because of Twitter’s ability to communicate broadly and quickly.

The problem for Associated Press now is that the level of trust in its Twitter feed has been diminished and the current embarrassment is in danger of having a last impact. It’s the same for us as individuals. If our Twitter (or Facebook, or any other site you’d like to choose) gets hacked the level of trust from others goes down. Associated Press responded decisively and with clarity, it’s a good strategy. We will have to do the same if we are ever in that situation our reputation may depend upon it.

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.

Warren Buffett

3 thoughts on “The power of sharing”

  1. AP account hacked by a simple phishing attempt from what I had read. Whether or not this is true you’d expect trusted sources like the AP and the BBC etc to have a good password policy. I often wonder how these things work behind the scenes. Is there a clever Twitter app used or is it just one member of staff sat at the PC logged into twitter.com that posts now and again.

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    1. Not sure, but they are probably sharing a password between a whole load of people. So it’s not likely that it’s been changed recently, and would be reasonably easy to remember.

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