Drama unfolding on Twitter; by the time I get this post up, it’ll probably have changed, but here goes anyway (slight Twitter glossary included for the uninitiated):
About an hour ago I started getting RTs* indicating that Proposition 8 had been repealed. It has not. The source of the confusion was an LA Times article, dated May 16, 2008, indicating that the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of gay marriage. Those with at least 364-day memories will remember that this is in fact the decision which led to Proposition 8 being on the ballot. However, the date was not immediately obvious, plus today’s May 15th and I personally give myself at LEAST a three-day cushion for knowing what day it is.
Anyway, the first RT was immediately retracted by the Twitterer; he had gotten it from someone who had gotten it from someone and I figured that’d be the end of it. But it turns out this would only be the first of many I’d receive.
And why? Because the initiator of the mistaken breaking news was none other but @latimes.** However, I only know this because of people giving them RT credit or, in many cases, demanding a retraction. I don’t know it by looking at @latimes’ timeline, because the offending tweet has apparently been scrubbed. Which is just insane, since about half the RTs – which keep coming joyously pouring forward followed by the saddest realization, over and over again – refer directly to @latimes as the source of the rumor. There are at LEAST a kajillion search results for “latimes prop 8” on search.twitter already. This has the potential to be a huge traditional-media clusterfuck, and @latimes had better get ahead of it.
Edit, mere seconds later: See? Told you it’d change before I got this posted. @latimes now tweets:
FTR note: Earlier [removed] tweet linked to a May 16, 2008 Prop 8 story + does not reflect any new news…
Really? Sorry’s only five characters, @latimes, I’m pretty sure you could have fit it in.
*Re-tweets; copy-pastes of other peoples’ messages to spread good or bad news quickly. Think swineflu, both as the virus and as the way talk about it spread around twitter.
** The Twitter account of various LA Times editors.