You know – sometimes I see the these rumors and lies posted on Apple sites, and I just can’t take it. For those of you that don’t know, KellyTM of Tiny Code decided to quit developing the jailbroken iPhone app that he/she had been working on, and instead of just saying “I quit” decided it would be better to come up with an elaborate lie about a collaboration with Apple. After it became a “big deal” KellyTM decided to apologize for it, and admit to lying. (Way to go!) I am furious at the little twit and I’m furious at the blogosphere (myself included) for taking their word for anything, and spreading this all over the web.
We had no reason to – its not like these people have a reputation for being upstanding credible sources. In fact, all Tiny Code is known for is software for jailbroken iPhones. That in and of itself is an illegal piece of software on an illegally broken phone – and while I’m not saying people with jailbroken iPhones (or those that develop for them) should be hanged, it certainly doesn’t instill an air of professionalism. Tiny Code is not Adobe, and we shouldn’t have ever taken the information on their site with the same level of trust as we would from a major company.
What hacks me off is that we, the blogging community, let this thing get out of hand. We reported about it like it was fact, and we had no proof. We do that too much. The blogging community wants to be treated as equals to the print magazines and the old media outlets. Those of us that aren’t owned by large corporations have to beg for acceptance at ‘media’ to events, and Apple sites specifically are plagued by all the ridiculous rumors that circulate on slow news days.
We’re better than this…and we need to start acting like it.
Sure, old media makes mistakes like this all the time too – but we can’t worry about that – we need to worry about ourselves, and what we can do to be better at what we do. I don’t consider myself a “journalist” – and I don’t consider myself a “reporter”. I think of this blog as a conversation with the readers, and I try to communicate the latest news, and a (some would say un) healthy amount of my personal thoughts and opinions along with it. Sometimes that sparks discussion among the community that reads this site, and I love that. Since I don’t consider myself a “journalist” though, sometimes I don’t think about the kinds of rules and standards that real “journalists” adhere to…and I need to stop that.
Now, don’t misunderstand and think that I’m saying everyone who calls him/her/itself a “journalist” actually is one. I’m talking about the actual hard working, honest, news people that check their facts and sources before they report something that is completely false.
There is no reason we should be embracing these constant streams of false rumors and blatant lies from untrustworthy people. If we ever want to be respected by event holders, major companies, and the general public at the level our old media competitors already enjoy then we HAVE to start acting like professional people, and stop posting things “for the hell of it.”
We have to create some sort of standard before we go live with a story that actually affects people. Did this story get anyone killed? Of course not! Do you think it cause some people inside Apple to have a really crappy day because of possible leaks? You bet it did. All because KellyTM wanted to stop development of the Tiny Code app. Instead of just saying “hey, I don’t want to do this anymore” this idiot decided to make up a story and tell all of us that they were working with Apple and waiting on the iPhone 1.1.4 software update. KellyTM even went so far as to throw in a bit about “seeing us on iTunes”. A very elaborate, thought out, lie, that caused problems for people….but it wouldn’t have happened if the blogging community hadn’t ran with it.
Does that make the blogging community entirely responsible for this? Of course not – but there is a level of blame that needs to be assessed. We have to stop reporting people’s lies as though they are facts. We have to start getting information from reliable sources and old reporting things that we can back up.
Every time something like this happens it makes all of us look bad, and its happening more and more these days.
I think the blogging community owes our readers and apology.
I, for one, am sorry that I helped spread this stupid lie, and it is not a mistake I plan to make in the future.
I don’t see why this is such a big deal anyway… 🙂
All too often, the lies and speculation are tagged “from an unconfirmed source” or something of the like. I guess that’s to cover their butts? It doesn’t matter who the source is. The readers believe the rumors whether they are from “confirmed” or “unconfirmed” sources. Unless you have a man on the inside, I think bloggers need to be a little more resposible and stop this stuff. It seems to happen way too much.
I heard a day or so after it was said that they were questioned about taking the site down and it was regarding breaking an NDA with Apple. All this looks like is a way to make Apple happy. I believe the SDK is around the corner and likely revolve around iTunes as often speculated here and elsewhere.
Good article, though I must point out that passing on unconfirmed rumors is far from the only reason most bloggers aren’t taken more seriously. Far too many, including yourself unfortunately, demonstrate a complete lack of good grammar. If you want your writing to be considered professional, or at least not laughed at, check your facts, check your spelling and check your grammar before publishing. If you can’t do it yourself, have someone do it for you. A very common mistake I see more and more is where someone refers to a company as if they were referring to the individuals of the company, and they use the plural form of the verb rather than the singular. How many times do you see ‘Apple have …’ or ‘Yahoo have …’? Apple is a company – a single entity – not a group of developers, not a collection of employees. It’s a single entity which requires the use of the singular form of every verb. You can say ‘Apple has introduced …’ or ‘Yahoo is considering …’ or you can say ‘Apple developers ARE …’ or ‘Yahoo board members ARE …’. They are all correct. ‘Apple are …’ or ‘Apple have …’ are incorrect. Period. This article has numerous mistakes which shouldn’t have made it past the editing stage. I applaud you if you’ll push equally as hard for better grammar on the web.
Today’s grammar lesson is brought to you by the letter “U.”
To me this is moot. I have to agree with James.
People threw a fit when a piece of vaporware called iTheater was getting hyped as “Front Row For Everyone” about a year or so ago. The guys developing the software had all of this propaganda (website, screenshots, etc) and kept putting off the release date. Turns out that they hadn’t gotten anywhere in development and people were calling for their heads! It’s not like anyone was paying for the software as it was open source, yet people were crazy about it. They finally did release it, but it sucked worse than Windows Movie Maker. Oh well…
@Bryan and James
This is only a big deal because this kind of misinformation continues to bleed out all over the web. Phony software releases and lies about distribution methods of upcoming products can negatively affect the stock of the company, which can negatively affect the lives of people who own stock in that company.
This is certainly not the worst case of this ever happening (that hoax on Engadget that tanked the stock by 5 billion probably is). The point about writing about it this time, though, is that it keeps happening, and it really needs to stop. We need to start checking our sources and trying to report actual facts from time to time…bad grammar and all.