For those unfamiliar with the term “catfish”, take a look at this bombshell investigative report by Deadspin on this story and you’ll see a prime example of online duping. As I learned more and more about the surprising social media-fueled hoax on Manti Te’o, I couldn’t help but take away two things:

  1. Know who you’re dating IRL (“in real life” for those not abbrev-savvy)
  2. Fact-check the hell out of your sources (ahem, unnamed major sports media publications)

Not to sound trite, but with the power a brand has entrusted upon you, comes great responsibility of online community management. This story, and many other stories like it, has reminded me to make sure I know what I’m retweeting, what I’m commenting on, and to check multiple sources before posting about the latest industry news or in-house brand updates. Not every RTed story is worth mentioning. Some tips on making sure a story is relevant and closest to the truth as possible before sharing:

  • Check if the article comes from a legit source
  • If the article refers to a statistic, see how that statistic came about
  • Read through some of the comments to see if someone is calling out the author for reporting false information
  • Actually read the article you’re going to share, don’t just skim through it and take the title or <140 characters as enough information
  • Research the subject in question before putting them on blast

By taking some of these best practices on as habits, you’ll become an online community managing machine! What protip have you learned from this breakout story?