Live

Watch CBSN Live

Did You Hear The One About ...

(CBS/AP)
Andrew Kantor's "CyberSpeak" column in the USA Today has Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs fuming (hat tip: Romenesko). We'll let you check out that back-and-forth for yourselves but did want to point out Kantor's humorous and often accurate example of how bloggers can blow small things out of proportion:
Imagine you're at a party, and you see someone you've met briefly before.

"Hi, Sue," you say.

"Hi, Andrew," she replies. "But my name's Jane."

You're embarrassed, but you apologize and get on with the conversation – no harm, no foul.

Now imagine that some other people overheard your gaffe. Instead of being embarrassed for you, they start telling everyone "Andrew got Jane's name wrong."

Sheesh, you think, It was just a stupid mistake.

But instead of simply dying out, the conversation about your slip picks up, and enters the realm of speculation.

"Jane's so pretty," says one person, "that there's no way Andrew would just forget her name." (In fact, you did simply forget.)

"I heard him complain about work once," says someone else. "He's probably in the office working late."

"I saw him take a pill in the bathroom," chimes in another. "My sister's boyfriend is a pharmacist, and it looked like Prozac to me." (It was an aspirin.)

You try to protest, but it's too late. Within hours, they're certain you have drug problems, hate your job, are seeing a shrink, and/or are pining for someone named Sue.

Welcome to the blogosphere, where speculation becomes fact, and where self-proclaimed "experts" offer opinions about as worthwhile (but well spoken) as creation science. Where wild guesses are pitched as absolutes, and where small gaffes are blown into major affairs.

For all the good, in-depth material blogs can bring to the table, there is a tendency to take little molehills and turn them into huge mountains.
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue