Yesterday morning, I had the privilege to write about some amazing technological innovations that are saving lives.
About the same time, someone I highly respect forwarded me an article (later proven to be a hoax) about a woman whose life was saved thanks to Google Earth.[ref]As the source article has proven to be a hoax, I will not provide a link to it. I will not help to perpetuate fraudulent reporting, and my earlier forward of the article on Twitter has been retracted with apologies.[/ref] I was, admittedly, impressed and forwarded it on as the article was germane to my discussion for the morning.
Sadly I should have done a bit more due diligence before passing the story along as it's been proven to be completely fictitious - parts of it even stolen word-for-word from a true survivalist's account of a planned outing.
I was a bit appalled that my friend and I had been duped in such a way, and we both immediately apologized to our followers and deleted the offending forwards. Unfortunately, the damage was already done.
Fraud Encourages Cynicism
A few people rightly pointed out my error and helped me correct the mistake. A couple other, however, immediately wrote things off:
I will always challenge cynicism in the age of the Internet because, honestly, refusing to ever take something at face value means true accomplishments will languish in their efforts to receive coverage.
Consider for a moment the sequence of events for yesterday:
- I published an article about a technology - GravityLight - that is making serious impacts for the better in people's lives
- I forwarded an article about a woman whose life was supposedly saved by Google Earth
- The second article was identified as a hoax, leading me to immediately retract my forwards
- Someone on Twitter starts a thread with "some people will believe anything," thus discounting pretty much any story of similar amazingness
This is the most cynical tweet I've ever received in response to anything I've posted and, as I responded to the tweet itself, I will not abide this kind of cynicism in communication as it devalues everything else I publish or forward. As I had written about serious technology in the tweet immediately preceding my forwarded article I take serious offense to anyone ever writing off something I say or do.
A cynic is someone whose statements and attitude is generally "distrusting or disparaging the motives of others."[ref]http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cynical[/ref] This kind of attitude leaves no room for amazement or wonder when the rest of us tell stories.