Responsibility and Accountibility

Work

Influencer

It’s humbling to work for a company that’s so well-respected in the industry. What we write is quoted and cited by other resources. People in the industry take what we write on our blog seriously and trust that what we’ve communicated is 100% factual. That’s one hell of a responsibility to have to bear. And we bear it well. If we ever make a mistake, or are wrong on something, I like to think we’re pretty quick and open to saying, “Hey, we made a mistake, but this is the correct thing.”

Not long ago I was researching a topic for work and surprised to find just how much misinformation there was out there about said topic, published by well-known and respected companies. It’s shocking because people are relying on this trusted information, and they’re being mislead. Maybe not intentionally, but it’s happening regardless.

It’s frustrating to think about. What does it take for you to double, or even triple, check your facts. Fess up if something you’ve published is incorrect, and move on? If you are a so-called “influencer”, take that responsibility seriously. Think about the level of trust your followers, fans or peers have in you, and don’t take it for granted.

While I didn’t publicly call out those other companies (perhaps I should have) on their incorrect facts, I did double-check what I thought was incorrectly published by them was in fact incorrect. Which sometimes took a little time, but it was time well spent. In the back of my head I knew there would be someone reading what I’d written and taking it as fact. That’s a feeling of responsibility I’ve never had before, and makes me think of Marty McFly’s immortal words “This is heavy.”

This isn’t a call-to-arms sort of post for influencers to get their shit together, more of a vent from me. But saying that, if you’re reading this and find yourself in the position of being an influencer, do your fans and followers a favour and get your facts straight before you share them. And if you find yourself wrong or misinformed, own up—we’re all human.

5 thoughts on “Responsibility and Accountibility

  1. You got me thinking. This year, I read an article at a library site written by well-educated experts, and there was a big factual error about the ending of a novel. Sloppiness can certainly make me less trustworthy of a contributor. The great communal thing about the WWW is we can help and call out errors, whereas printed books you have to wait for the next edition. My minor blog isn’t “influential”, but it’s good advice to double check and triple check. Of course, the fact checker has to be 100% sure as well before they speak up.

  2. With the whole fake news taking off and getting attention, your post is revelant. It’s all too easy to go with ‘trusted’ sources and not fact check. I mean, who has the time? And isn’t this what the Internet is for? Fast and faster information and news?

    Hopefully, folks wise up and start researching and looking a little further into what they are reading and spreading…

    1. The fake news shit that’s going around is awful. And people accept it. We’re so trusting of established news sources. Of course, we sort of should be—it’s sad we can’t be these days.

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