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Somewhere between the signal and the noise of This Week in Internet Outrage™ came a flood of reports Thursday that a number of high-profile brands and celebrities had suddenly lost millions of Instagram followers, or at least a high percentage of their follower count.

Naturally, the knee-jerk reaction by many social brand management professionals was something along the lines of panic. Zach Allia compiled a very dynamic look at just how many followers the top 100 Instagram accounts lost during the so-called #Instapurge, while Adweek detailed the brands who lost the most followers.

Numerous probably looked in the mirror and saw this:

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This wasn’t a wholly unexpected move. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram regularly purge its user base of accounts that are dormant, breaking the platform’s Terms of Service or spamming other users with undesirable content or comments. In fact, the news that Instagram specifically was on the verge of doing this on a large scale was hidden in plain view in this December 10 blog post from CEO Kevin Systrom:

Keeping Instagram authentic is critical—it’s a place where real people share real moments. We’re committed to doing everything possible to keep Instagram free from the fake and spammy accounts that plague much of the web, and that’s why we’re finishing up some important work that began earlier this year.

I’m going to go against the grain of people panicking over seeing their follower count drop. In fact, Instagram’s move should have brand managers absolutely thrilled, because for the equivalent effort of you eating a sandwich, Instagram immediately increased your brand’s most important metric: engagement rate.

Engagement rate (referred to below as E%) is one of the top metrics a social manager should be keeping a close eye on; it’s very simply the number of engagements on a post divided by the numbers of impressions the post receives. Ergo, if 5,000 people saw your post and 1,000 engaged with it, you’ve got a 20 percent engagement rate, which would fall into the extremely high category.

If you passed 3rd grade math, the conclusion here should be extremely clear. A case study: You might be panicking that an account you manage lost 1,000 followers, but in reality, those purged accounts weren’t engaging with your content anyway because they were spam or simply dormant. Therefore, by eliminating irrelevant accounts, your ratio of engagements to followers just went up by a large margin. 

Division is simple. 1,000 divided by 5,000 is 20 percent.  Remember – Instagram just eliminated 1,000 of those followers who, by their nature, were never engaged with your content anyway, so all of a sudden, you’re down to 1,000 divided by 4,000.

That E% is 25 percent, or a potential 25 percent increase in E% without you lifting as much as a finger. That ratio gets even higher when you include the truism that not every single one of your followers will see any given piece of content.

Granted, there are two major blind spots here when it comes to tracking engagement on Instagram versus Facebook/Twitter:

  1. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram doesn’t provide native impression statistics, so we have no way of accurately knowing exactly how many people saw a post
  2. Virality in the Instagram platform is almost impossible due to the lack of a native sharing feature like a retweet or a share (hypothetically, an Instagram photo could go viral on Twitter or Facebook, but those metrics would belong to Twitter and Facebook and not inherently Instagram)

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Deep breaths, friends. This is a good time for everyone to think clearly about metrics and remember that relying solely on follower count to judge the value of any social account is antiquated and ineffective. With the incredible amount of data we have about social post performance available to brand managers, we now have much better ways of determining your brand’s effectiveness.

Remember to take a deep look at what types of content really makes people want to double-tap your photo or, better yet, leave a comment. The true value in social continues to lie in that engagement rate, and the higher it is, the more valuable that account really is.

This blog has been dormant for more than a year. I aim to change that starting…now.

Or now.

OK, now.

I slapped a fresh coat of paint on this here website and plan on blogging about all sorts of things in the coming days and months and years.

Topics will include but not limited to: social media, digital industry trends, running, beers I like, the San Jose Sharks, college sports, worldly affairs, observations on the world around us and, in Jeopardy! terms, general potpourri.

I’ve also updated my “About Me” page (HI MOM) and my contact info. My RebelMouse page, which aggregates my tweets, retweets and tweets that I’ve favorited, is now available under “Social Feed” in the nav.

Have something you want me to write about? Leave a comment, send me a note or track me down with a sandwich board or something.

I’ve got a newsflash for all of those who still believe everything they read on the Internet is true – you can’t.

It’s an unfathomable truth – on the Internet, where in most cases there’s no one to check your work and not enough of a community for the vast majority to self-regulate, people lie! They do it for all sorts of reasons.

Some want attention. Some want to get a rise of of the net. And some just think that making stuff up and spreading innuendo is the most fun they can have with their CD-ROM drive still on.

It’s just a sad truth. People are going to spew untruths until the cows come home, but until I saw a recent study out of a technical school in India, I didn’t fathom just how prevalent it could be.

The day that two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon was among the worst in our nation’s history, and in retrospect, it was the first major attack of its kind on American soil in the era of social media as a news gathering and distribution tool.

And, according to a study authored by three technology students in New Delhi, a full 80 percent of tweets about the Marathon bombing were completely useless.

The study, undertaken by Aditi Gupta, Hemank Lamba and Ponnurangam Kumaraguru, indicated that of the 8 million tweets mentioning the Boston Marathon between April 15 and April 20, 29 percent of them contained false information and another 51 percent were either opinions or personal analysis.

That leaves just 20 percent – approximately 1.6 million of 8 million tweets – as containing actual, actionable and accurate information.

That’s horrendous. What more, the researchers found that the people behind official accounts – social media managers, journalists, official conduits of information to the public – were being duped as well.

“The high number of verified and large follower base users propagating the fake information, can be considered as the reason for the fake tweets becoming so viral,” the authors wrote with haunting accuracy.

More than ever, in a time when the public trust in journalism is already waning, it’s so pivotal to make sure that you’re only passing along accurate information. It’s especially true in a culture in which being first to report a fact is so important to news organizations, but not necessarily the consumer.

Make sure you think about that last part, because it’s what has burned everyone who has made a pivotal error in reporting over the past year. I like to tell students and seminars that you’ve got perhaps – PERHAPS – a 10 to 12 percent chance of getting something before your competitors, and doing so is very likely out of your hands.

On the other hand, you’ve got a 100 percent chance of being accurate, and that’s completely up to the outlet. Only you chose whether you click “SEND” or not.

If you’re a hardy soul, you can read the full paper by Gupa, Lamba and Kumaraguru. Or, if you prefer something that’ll take less than 45 hours to finish, check out the writeup by Smithsonian Magazine.

This is going to be more cathartic for me than it is for you, but the only thing I could think to do about what happened to me about an hour ago was to write about it and hope that others learn from the situation. I’m very rarely one to delve into first-person narrative on this site either, but here goes.

This morning, while on a run through Arlington and Alexandria, an out-of-control cyclist with clearly no regard for his peers ran me off the side of the Mt. Vernon Trail near Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. I’m no worse for the wear, to get that out of the way; my shoulder is a little sore from landing on the soft grass, I got a little dust in my mouth, my pride is bruised a little bit and I’m perhaps a little embarrassed for having instinctively shouting an expletive in public.

Regardless of how I feel physically or mentally, I went through a quick three emotions about what happened at just about 11:30 a.m.: shock, anger, and then finally, disappointment.

Here’s what happened. I was crossing into mile 7 of what turned out to be a 7.65-mile run on the trail and through Old Town Alexandria. It wasn’t a leisurely run by any stretch, but it was definitely not race pace; perhaps at the time of the incident I was cruising at 7:55 mile pace. I was on the trail near the Indigo Landing restaurant, just south of the southern tip of the airport.

What you’ll see from the street views below is that the curve I was on is blind to both north and southbound foot and bike traffic, so signs in that area urge trail users to slow down and be careful. I was going northbound – my view can approximately be seen in the top street view – while the bicyclist was traveling southbound.

The short story is this – as I approached the foot of that blind curve, a cyclist came tearing around the curve at a pretty nice speed – perhaps 12-13 miles per hour by my estimation. That’d be all well and good if he were in his marked lane on the fairly wide two-lane trail. I say fairly wide because when I run, I typically shade over as far right on the pavement as I can to allow cyclists behind me to pass without incident.

Instead, this cyclist tore around the blind curve and shot into the northbound lane of the trail. With very little time to react, I instinctively dove into the soft grass and dust. The cyclist, whom did not stop and I could only recognize as a man in a white shirt and sunglasses, rode away without looking back. Two kind joggers who came around the curve a few seconds later helped me up; I assured them I was fine, and we both went on our separate ways.

It’s hard for me to stay mad when the situation is over – I don’t know who the cyclist was and, frankly, I don’t really care. My anger subsided into disappointment once I got home about 10 minutes later. The trail wasn’t exceptionally busy today, especially for a rare 72-degree mid-morning with low humidity in August, but it had its fair share of runners, walkers, dog-walkers, cyclists and even a rollerblader populating it throughout my run.

My only hope is that no one gets seriously hurt by selfish recreation seekers and that everyone can share and enjoy the trail without a repeat of this anytime soon.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE (9:14 p.m. EST): Welp.

In the last few minutes, the National Transportation Safety Board came out with a statement saying that a summer intern “acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.” This significantly changes the situation, but there are still major questions.

First off, this brings an abrupt and sad end to “Interns Pick Up The Phones Friday” at the NTSB. (Ed. Note: This theme day may not exist.)

So, I have to actually retract what I say below about KTVU lying. They actually didn’t and I humbly apologize for that conclusion. However, this all casts an incredibly bad light on whoever actually called the NTSB to confirm these offensive and clearly fake names.

Every journalist person who walks this earth needs to have a really strong B.S. detector. If the NTSB is to be taken at its word, and at this point I don’t know whose word to take, they merely confirmed names that KTVU called about. That means that somebody at Channel 2 came across these names, didn’t realize they were clearly fake, CALLED THE NTSB and got some buffoon of an intern to confirm it. You know, “outside of the scope of his authority,” like any intern has any sort of authority at a federal agency.

There’s a very topical movie line from the beginning of Monty Python and the Holy Grail that reflects all of this: “Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked.”

New conclusion: KTVU didn’t lie. Some college kid from the NTSB did, in fact, confirm these ridiculous names that a KTVU employee should have never been calling the NTSB about in the first place.

Oh, also, the names of the pilots involved have been public for a week. So…yeah. Go team.

Original update and original post all below. Fin.


UPDATE (6:57 p.m. EST): KTVU has deleted its original apology, which blamed faulty information from the NTSB, from its website. The new apology still blames the NTSB for confirming their terrible information. Matthew Keys has a screen capture of the original apology on his Facebook page. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here purchasing a plane ticket to the Bay Area just to give everyone at that station a hearty Nelson laugh. The station also finally tweeted its apology just after 4 p.m. Pacific time, nearly four hours after the mistake aired.

Original post follows below.


As a proud child of the San Francisco area that will always call the Bay Area home, I grew up getting my news from the major TV stations there, including KGO, KRON, KPIX and, of course, KTVU.

Oh, KTVU. The plucky Fox affiliate who for so many years declared themselves the #1 late local news in the San Francisco area. Also, the ones who apparently can’t tell when patently incorrect information is STARING THEM DIRECTLY IN THE FACE.

If you’ve been on Twitter at all over the last few hours, you’ve seen what happened on the Bay Area’s venerable Channel 2. During their noon newscast, KTVU’s anchor broke into the normal flow with a piece of what likely would have been very interesting information about the crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214.

She had, in her hands and on a full-screen graphic, the names of four pilots who were at the helm of the 777 when it crashed at San Francisco International Airport this past Saturday. Well, then, let’s just pull up that graphic and read the names and OH MY HEAVENS NO DON’T DO IT.

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Oh, goodness, you did. There are so many people you can dish out blame to, not the least of which are the producer who allegedly procured these names from the National Transportation Safety Board (remember this point later), the graphic designer who typed them into a full screen, an executive producer or news director who greenlighted the info or – possibly least culpable – the anchor who read it and likely didn’t see it before it popped up on a monitor.

I’m not here to pile on KTVU for making the mistake or, as the kids say, getting Punk’d by someone. Every news station (CNN) makes some pretty big (CNN) mistakes. No one is immune. The cable news station owned by the company I work for once rushed to air with a report that Margaret Thatcher had died when she was, in fact, very much alive. The producer got the information from a fraudulent Twitter account mimicking Sky News.

What I’m more appalled by is the station’s ridiculously half-hearted attempt to own up to being wrong. In this era, it’s incredibly easy to lose control of the conversation when stuff hits the fan, and there’s precious little time between damage control mode and full-on reputation defense mode.

KTVU has blown past reputation defense mode by now and are probably in full on ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ mode. After they made the mistake on air, KTVU’s anchor came back on and issued a 14-second apology in which she blamed faulty, confirmed information from the NTSB for the error.

That’s all well and good, except they’re apparently lying. According to an NTSB spokesman who talked to Gawker, the agency never gives out pilot names. “I don’t know who [KTVU] got that from, but we do not release names,” the spokesman said. (UPDATE: If you’ve made it this far, I assume you’ve read above that it was a kooky NTSB summer intern that confirmed these names.)

Well, okee doke! The station also issued a statement on KTVU.com apologizing for the error. It was published more than 90 minutes after the on-air snafu happened. (NOTE: This link is broken. See above). A link to the apology is buried at the very bottom of the home page, and anyone with common sense and a working knowledge of scroll rates knows that perhaps 10 percent of your audience is getting that far down. PERHAPS. 10 percent is probably a liberal guess. At least it’s perfectly positioned next to a retargeted ad unit.

We’re sure, then that KTVU has taken to their 40,000+ followers and 73,000+ Facebook fans to distribute their apology wide…nope. Looking at the station’s mentions on Twitter and public timeline posts on Facebook show that the station is getting absolutely slaughtered digitally.

So, let’s go step-by-step on what KTVU did wrong, what they should have done instead and what they’re going to have to do now.

  1. You made the mistake in the first place. We can’t uncross that bridge, so on to…
  2. You apologized on television and blamed someone else. No one in the general public cares where you got the faulty information. You made the mistake and your audience associates you with the error and not the source. Own up to it. Also, as we already mentioned, you apparently lied about where the info came from, so good on you!
  3. You buried your apology note deep on your home page. When your mistake went viral on social media, that bad boy should have been right up top, front and center for everyone to see. Above the fold. Possibly in red letters. Bold ones. And blinking. Speaking of…
  4. You didn’t post that apology onto your social networks. The station had an immediate opportunity to issue a retraction and apology on all platforms. We’re now more than 3 hours past the incident and there’s still nothing referencing the incident on Facebook and Twitter, where if I can reiterate, they’re getting totally killed.

This is a failure of common sense, of media knowledge, of professionalism and of damage control all in one neat, tidy 180-minute package. So, instead of nipping all of this in the bud early and taking their lumps, this is what KTVU’s brass is relegated to doing in response:

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During one especially hilarious episode of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live in the early 1980s, Dan Aykroyd turned to Jane Curtin and said something subtle, yet absolutely side-splitting.

No, not “Jane, you ignorant slut.” At least not this time. He turned to her and said, “Once again, you’ve missed the point entirely.”

In 2013, we can all turn to Facebook’s developers and say exactly that when it comes to their much-ballyhooed rollout of hashtags, which came on June 12.

Most who know me know that I’ve spent very likely too much time scorning people for injecting hashtags from Twitter onto Facebook, which I thought came to a sad end when Facebook made its announcement. However, after playing with hashtags on the platform for more than two weeks, I’m back to tell you that I’m going to scorn you for injecting hashtags onto Facebook.

There are 2 main reasons for this – Facebook hashtags weren’t mobile friendly from the outset and Facebook profiles are too private.

The most glaring one, though, gets right back to the heart and soul of what Facebook has so woefully failed at since its launch in 2004 – mobile. In January, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that mobile visits to Facebook surpassed visits from desktops or laptops for the first time; meanwhile, Facebook was also the most popular iOS app in 2012 by far.

With those numbers in mind and likely skyrocketing even in the past six months, you’d thing that every new project rollout from Palo Alto would have mobile usability top of mind. WRONG, YOU’D BE. The most glaring example of this is that hashtags aren’t able to be tracked on, at least for now, the iOS app. Here’s an example, using my old college buddy Brian. Brian posted this Instagram photo to Facebook on Saturday with the #threehours hashtag.

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Out of curiosity, I would have loved to have seen how many other people were, perhaps, including #threehours in their status updates. So I tapped on the hashtag. Then I tapped again. And again. And nothing happened. I then tried to search for a hashtag using Facebook mobile’s search mechanism. I’ll give you three guesses as to what happened.

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I’ve been foiled by a lack of immediate understanding of usability, apparently! Listen, the ability to track hashtags on mobile will probably come very soon. It was rolled out on Facebook’s mobile web offering on Thursday, according to TechCrunch, but there’s still no native hashtag support for iOS or Android apps.

Why was this not immediately available upon the introduction of hashtags? There’s no logical explanation other than that Facebook bungled the whole dang thing. The entire concept of hashtags is to be able to track conversations across a litany of users, and what Facebook did was leave all those mobile users who want to do just that hanging out to dry.

Public vs. private is a huge issue for Facebook hashtags

Don’t even get me started on user behavior right now, because that comes later. However, take a good hard think about my last statement. Hashtags on Twitter have always been about tracking and joining robust conversations across the vast network of users. What Facebook clearly doesn’t understand or recognize is that according to a 2012 report, just fewer than 12 percent of Twitter users had their timelines locked down. Compare that to Facebook, where the vast majority of users have some sort of privacy control set up, greatly inhibiting a person’s ability to search for any kind of bulk useful content there.

Ergo, how useful is a hashtag on Facebook really going to be if I can’t surface, anecdotally, 80 to 85 percent of statuses using that hashtag, simply because they’re protected by the user?

Even if you’re a brand manager or social manager and you ask people to post content using your hashtag, you’ll still only get to see a small percentage of their responses. Again, it’s because the majority of your followers likely have protected their status updates. meaning even if you get a reasonable amount of fans posting with your tag, you’ll only get to see a small fraction. In this case, your ROI is still way higher if you ask people to post content directly onto your fan page or even sending it to your page as a message.

This flaw, in reality, will be the ultimate killer of any notion that hashtags on Facebook will be in any way greatly useful for brand managers or anyone who curates content based on them.

Conclusion: Facebook hashtags, for now, are a gong show

Until we hit a critical mass of people using hashtags on Facebook as they do on Twitter, which may or may not take a while, its usefulness to social media managers, brand strategists, assorted professionals and even those who simply want to follow conversations is fairly low.

The only tangible thing I could think of that may have helped managers in the short term was if, by chance, Facebook’s EdgeRank rewarded brand pages with a total reach bump if a hashtag was used in a status. I popped hashtags into several posts on the page that I manage, which has more than 133,000 fans, and saw no tangible change in average reach per post, which is something I track religiously.

Bottom line – if you’re managing a page, don’t worry about hashtags yet. Continue to focus on creating engaging, socially friendly content and expanding both your reach and fan base.

Late Wednesday afternoon, one of Washington’s most iconic retail outlets went up in flames. Frager’s Hardware, a Capitol Hill staple, caught fire and was all but destroyed during the 4-alarm blaze.

Naturally, the public went to Twitter to express their grief and support those who work at Frager’s. I created a Storify to capture the entire thing, from the first reports of smoke from Southeast to Frager’s thanking firefighters who came to put the flames out.

Storify is one of my favorite tools to use for many reasons; it’s free, it’s attractive and it lets people tell the story. In my opinion, it’s way more valuable than simply quoting someone off the street for a story either on air or online.


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“Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad, whatever is done and suffered by her creatures. All scars she heals, whether in rocks or water or sky or hearts.” -John Muir

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“Twitter, Facebook and Reddit: that’s not journalism,” Pelley said. “That’s gossip. Journalism was invented as an antidote to gossip.”

CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley gets journalism. He’s a fine storyteller. He wouldn’t be in the anchor chair for one of America’s most iconic news programs if he did not.

If his speech last week at the Metropolitan Club in New York City is any indication, though, Pelley can also be chalked up to a much longer list – the group of people who misconstrue the use of social media in our business.

And one comment – née, one line – from his remarks on Friday turned my affirmative nodding into yet another exhale, eye roll and sink into my desk chair.

As detailed by TV Newser, Pelley began a series of excellent observations about journalism as a whole when he stated that our “house is on fire;” the beginning of a speech that detailed, and spare no one, the indignity of getting so many recent breaking stories completely wrong. He talked about CBS’ erroneous reporting on the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Then, of course, he turned his attention to Boston, where so many journalists got so many pivotal (and simple) facts wrong that it made us collectively bury our heads in our faces and wonder what we were doing if we weren’t getting things right.

He’s so right. It’s a sentiment I personally echo. During a panel at the SPJ Regional Conference in Norfolk, Va. several weeks ago, I said to a room of professionals and students alike that our business is in the deepest ethical and legal crisis it has ever seen, and it linked back to the reckless use of tightly sourced or, frankly, unverified information when going to print, air or social.

The problem, I said, is inherently the practice of journalists getting sloppy. It’s not to be blamed on any medium – it’s to be blamed on journalists forgetting how to do their jobs properly.

Does social have something to do with that? Of course; I shan’t be that naive. The world of instantaneous information and the thirsts it must quench make speed AND accuracy most paramount in the reporting world.

That’s where Scott Pelley went down the road of misplaced blame and led me to bellow a Chewbacca-style “NOOOOOOOOOOOO.”

“Twitter, Facebook and Reddit: that’s not journalism. That’s gossip. Journalism was invented as an antidote to gossip.”

Sigh. Why must we continue to go there?

Pelley, and so many others who lean on social media as the crutch to the ills of our business, still feel like social media is the problem. But he, like so many others who like to wag their finger at the social web and look down on it as the trojan horse that will lay siege to the house of journalism, have one thing so very, very wrong.

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Twitter, Facebook and Reddit don’t fill themselves with content and information. Humans do. One subset of the human race, of course, are those who are employed as journalists. Journalists add content to social media. If their information is wrong, it’s wrong. And it’s wrong on television, on radio, in print or…(pause for dramatic effect)…social!

During that same conference in Norfolk, I likened social at accelerant to a burning fire. If information you choose to report is poorly sourced and incorrect, it’s poorly sourced and incorrect on every platform you distribute it on. It’s a different age of distribution we live in now and it’s predicated on speed more than ever. Bad information, though, gets spread just as quickly as correct information.

Ergo, you’d better get it right the first time. Wait, though…isn’t that the maxim we’ve been living under since the day we all stepped foot into a journalism school? 

It’s a simple concept that Pelley and everyone else who likes to lay blame to journalism’s ills on social media needs to pick up very quickly. You get out of it what you put into it. If you put incorrect reporting into social media, or television, or radio, or magazine, or smoke signal, it’s wrong equally. I’m not sure why I kept coming back to this example as I planned out this blog, but nonetheless, I did. Here’s video from the day President Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981. Note how often Frank Reynolds reported that Mr. Reagan wasn’t hit by a bullet.

We got it wrong long before Twitter was a thing, friends. The difference? In 1981, the fastest medium we had to disseminate news and information was television and radio. That’s slow as a slug compared to what we have now. Take a moment, then, to imagine the situation that would have been present if social media were around when Reagan was shot.

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What you’ve got is the same exact situation as you had in Boston. The info was wrong. It just travels faster now, meaning we have to be extra careful and extra meticulous with our reporting now more than ever.

The onus of social as it relates to speed is a valid point. Never before have journalists have been so pressured into rapidity in relation to reporting. However, if you’ll refer to the note I bolded above, nothing has changed about getting it right. Vigilant consumers love to hold outlets responsible for shoddy reporting, especially on social networks. Why do you think John King continues to be a meme to this day?

It is our duty as journalists to report facts on all platforms. It’s our job to distill between truth and, as Pelley calls it, “gossip.” But can’t somebody lie to your face just as easily as they can lie to you on Facebook?

So, with that in mind, think of it this way – would you rather be first with the story, wrong with the story and pilloried by the masses? Or would you rather wait 15 extra seconds (or minutes), get the story right and do your job correctly?

Think of that the next time you tweet, rather than clinging to a Pelley-esque notion that your tweet is destroying the house of journalism.

Every week, I’ll browse the listings over at JournalismJobs.com and pick one out that sticks out to me. It may make me laugh, raise an eyebrow or, simply, just be a really interesting gig. It’ll be fun. I promise.

I appreciate it wholly when outlets use all sorts of active adjectives to describe their gigs. We want someone who is TENACIOUS. Someone who’s going to DIG DEEP and find HUGE SCOOPS. Someone who is going to CRASH THE NET and TAKE SECOND on SEEING-EYE SINGLES.

(It’s also fairly awesome when these listings use all-caps, and on second thought, those last two are better suited for hockey and baseball players.)

I think what I liked about this one this week, though, was the direct attack it takes on its corporate brethren. This week’s listing du jour, based in southern Maryland, does just that.

You see, The County Times, a small weekly that publishes both that and the Calvert Gazette, covers the three counties just a little bit further away from Washington, D.C. from the close-in jurisdictions that traditionally get heavy coverage from the local stations and papers such as the Washington Post and Gazette. In general, they cover St. Mary’s and Calvert Counties. This week, they’re looking for a tenacious community news reporter. It’s based in Hollywood, Md., a hamlet that sits just a few miles away from the Chesapeake Bay.

I have a soft spot for these smaller papers. One of my first writing gigs when I moved to the D.C. area was at the Prince George’s Sentinel, a weekly I penned articles for pro bono between 2009-2010 while I was in the process of restarting my career. They’re a great place to get your hacks in and take a really deep look at what makes a community tick.

The lede, here, has been buried, though. The best line from this listing is the shot across the bow:

We have a small staff for our two family-owned newspapers, which compete against the bloated staffs of corporate giants that have, until now, dominated news in Southern Maryland.

WOAH WOAH WOAH there, County Times, put your gloves back on. No one is fighting here. Yes, it’s a tough road to hoe when you’ve got the likes of the Post and, in their neck of the woods, a cluster of three papers (The Independent, The Enterprise and The Calvert Recorder) which are owned by the Southern Maryland Newspapers group.

But “bloated staffs of corporate giants?” I don’t know if you’re quite dealing with that when we’re talking about the likes of papers that regularly cover these beautiful regions of Maryland, nestled right up against the bay, but this looks like a pretty sweet starting gig for someone.

P.S.: A shameless plug, but my site is hiring too.