« Twitter, Social Networking and Taking a Big Step Back | Main | I'm talking to you. Put your stupid phone away and listen »

Kingston Exposed - How Twitter can spread misinformation

The power of the pen is great, but I didn’t expect our front page splash and page 4/5 spread of Kingston Exposed to explode like it has done. Although I didn’t write the story, I did tweet a number of times asking for information and quotes from anyone affected.


Now that the story has been printed and Twitter exploded, I feel that I should explain for those who haven’t read the story…


When a tweet says “Kingston exposed has made the papers” what they mean is, ‘it’s in the university paper, which is run by some students and has a circulation of a few thousand’. Kingston Exposed is not in any other newspaper – yet – and certainly has not appeared on television, which was suggested by several Twitter users.


The majority of tweets are related to a photograph taken of the front page of The River, although to the uninformed it could be a page from any newspaper. Those who are unaware of the university newspaper may believe that this photo was of a national daily paper. This is not the case.


The very use of ‘papers’ by many is incorrect, but no one stops to check the facts and the snowball continues to build.


To those who raise the issue of The River publishing the ‘#kingstonexposed’ hashtag; yes, we did publish the hashtag, but as of Friday evening Twitter users are asking for links to the original PDF. This, surely, counters any argument that The River has publicized the location of the Kingston Exposed file on the internet.


If anyone suggested that The River’s handling of Kingston Exposed was not trustworthy or accurate, then I suggest that you read the number of tweets stating that the story has ‘made the papers’. This phrase suggests a local, or even national, paper. Clearly, this is untrue.


It’s exciting when a big story breaks and even more so if something we’re locally aware of becomes ‘mainstream’. Kingston Exposed has not become mainstream, but thanks to dozens of tweets talking about it, they are themselves adding to the snowball affect that has brought the story back into the spotlight.


This happened two weeks ago when the file was first published online, it died down in days and this will undoubtedly happen again over the weekend.


The River told the story honestly and truthfully in a professional manner. No names or photographs were published. Front page stories by their very nature gain public interest and spark debate and reaction; that’s how news works. But hysteria soon kicks in, rumours spread and too many people pass on half-truths.


No matter how many threats are made, retweets are sent or photos of the pages are taken, this is a small story within Kingston University, which has appeared in the university newspaper. Twitter has the ability to spread news quickly and far-afield. Sometimes this is a good thing, but in this case, it’s unnecessary and simply makes a mountain out of a molehill.



The above views are mine and not of The River or Kingston University. 

Reader Comments (3)

I totaly agree with your comments. The truth is there and people clearly need to accept that the story
only applies to the university newspaper. :-). Well said.

March 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJaipreet Gill

well this blog is great i love reading your articles. okldiz okldiz - Jimmy Choo Chaussures.

October 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermhqavb mhqavb

Twitter has the ability to spread news quickly and far-afield. Sometimes this is a good thing,

November 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercustom paper help

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>