Just a quick note to observe how... disturbed and disappointed I was today on Twitter.
When the plane landed in the Hudson River recently it was an amazing thing to follow in real time Twitter. It spread viraly and the news of survivors and the photos spread to us Tweeters before they made it on to the TV or news websites.
That's an excellent use of this tool for instant independent journalism.
Today, reading Natasha Richardson declared dead, brain dead, dead, brain dead, suffering brain swelling, possibly fine, possibly not in real time, with RETRACTIONS, was disgusting and, frankly, frightening. There's nothing more irresponsible than just declaring someone DEAD without properly verifying. The Internet is a potent, powerful, and permanent tool. Please have the good sense to not race just to be the first person with the story unless you have the correct information. A lead is one thing. Actually posting a notice someone died is far different.
I feel awful for any member of a circle of family and friends who'd have to read such a thing. Being a celebrity, her family's misfortune is playing out on the world stage... but on any stage there's no excuse for declaring something like that about another person - something so final - without definitive proof. At least both Perez Hilton and the New York Post retracted their statements quickly.
I wish her and her family the best. I also wish them privacy, discretion, and respect.
Let's all remember to mind our Ps and Qs and be careful out there, okay.