The power of mis-information and its followers

  • March 8th, 2007

Rant: This may translate into nothing more than a personal rant, but recent events are too difficult to ignore.

Yesterday, my discovery of the the text string "iPhone for Derek Punsalan / 2 yr. Agreement Savings $150" on a recent Cingular receipt received a noticeable amount of attention. The story graced the pages of Digg, Tuaw, Engadget, and AppleInsider amongst others. Although the traffic was outstanding and the newfound attention enjoyable, I re-discovered the power of mis-information.

The receipt for the purchase was authentic, I use the service on a regular basis, and the text string was an accurate identification of a glitch in the Cingular pont-of-sale (POS) system. The post was shared, not to incite a rumor, but to convey the simple point that I found "iPhone" on my receipt, and that the order in which text was printed was suggestive of a price adjustment.

Unfortunately, Engadget elected to share the news as a likely "rumor" with their ever so creative (Rumor likelihood: 20%) appended to the end of the description. I find this mis-information disgusting. In my eyes, as well as many others, labeling authentic content as a rumor is discrediting – which bothers me even more so because of the transparent nature in which the discovery was shared.

This in turn lead to the events which prompted this post. Over a period of 24 hours, I have received more email in one day than I have in three. Why? What could be the source or reason for new popularity? Accusations that I whored this site out by jumping on to the Apple / iPhone rumor bandwagon. For once, trolls originate not from the deep comment threads of Digg, but rather, larger technology focused news blogs with readers who aren’t actually reading, but following whatever it is that is fed to them.

End rant: I now end my annoyance of readers who aren’t actually "reading" and smile at the accusations that the receipt was bogus and Photoshopped. I only wish I actually possessed the skills to make a receipt look so real.