Saturday night was pretty quiet. Not much going on, checked on Twitter to see how the Crazy South Carolina Party was going and up popped a tweet about the death of Joe Paterno, the disgraced football coach from Penn State. Reported first by the college newspaper,Onward State and later by CBS News, Breaking News and the Huffington Post.
A few minutes later, the tweets were retracted. The editor-in-chief of Onward State apologized and resign his position after both sons tweeted that while gravely ill, their father had not passed away.
One thing you can say for technology, as fast as news comes - when it is wrong, the corrections come fast. Faster than we could ever have imagined. At least once a week, there is a tweet proclaiming the death of a celebrity or statesman that has 20 more tweets responding that it isn't so.
The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.
Mark Twain quotation after hearing that his obituary had been published in the New York Journal.
Mistaken publications of obituaries aren't as rare as you might expect. A recent example is of Dave Swarbrick, the British folk/rock violinist, who was killed off mistakenly by the Daily Telegraph in April 1999 when they reported that his visit to hospital in Coventry had resulted in his death. He did at least get the opportunity to read a rather favourable account of his life, not something we all get to do, and to deliver the gag "It's not the first time I have died in Coventry".
Nothing new under the sun, it's just that the sun is going a whole lot faster now...
Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org at Sunday, January 22, 2012