Thursday, June 28, 2012

Did you fall for yesterday's Back to the Future scam?

Oh Back To The Future.

You are up there with Ferris, the Breakfast Club and Ghostbusters as movies that inspired my generation's mindset (probably explains a lot about my weirdness). You also inspired us to skateboard more than Tony Hawk ever could and to play guitar before we ever heard of Guitar Hero. And though hardly any of us had ever seen or heard of a DeLorean before you (just admit it), nothing can take your place in our minds when that word is by chance uttered.
So yesterday was a big day.

It started slow but then grew like wildfire on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Yesterday was the day that Doc set the time machine to in Back to the Future II:
Obviously anyone who grew up with these movies would get instantly excited and then share the big news. I did. It was like an instant reaction: BOOM! RETWEET! RESHARE! REPIN!

Thing was a scam.

Yep. Total scam that tons fell for. Myself included.  Check it out HERE.

Not having the DVDs with me would be an easy excuse for not knowing, but a simple check of the IMDB page would have been enough to avoid embarrassment. Here is a clip from the movie if that's not enough and you need further proof:

Someone totally got us (I use the plural deliberately). The jerk.  =)

But the best way to redeem the feeling of stupid is to let the moment be a reminder of what results from leaning on social media! 

There is a good and bad about our information overloaded world. Yesterday was a safe example of the bad. Some dork thought he'd put the joke out there and see how many people he could hoodwink. He succeeded.

But sometimes the information isn't as trivial as a date in a movie. Sometimes the information can be about theology, friends, politicians, pastors, history, family, science, art, current events and any other topic you can think of. These are not trivial.

So let the Marty and Doc debacle remind us of a couple safeguards:
  • Move slow: Retweeting, resharing, and repinning is only one click away. This means embarrassment at the least and harm at the worst is also only one click away. I grew up hearing "Be slow to speak." But that has to be reestablished for today: "Be slow to repost."
  • Don't trust headlines: Headlines are written to be marketing hooks, crafted in such a way that you'll be curious and want to click the link. This luring results in headlines not always being accurate to reality. It's really important to come to grips with this because in our world we don't realize just how much we skim. We skim information because we have to, there's just way too much of it! But skimming means only reading the sneaky headlines. So be careful! While skimming if one of those headlines hook you in: make sure you READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE!
  • Check and double check the information: Take what you're reading in a blog post or in a news article back to original sources or original information. Example at hand - watching the actual DVD of Back to the Future 2 would have cleared things up, error avoided and I could have said "IN YOUR FACE!" to the prankster. But most people don't check the validity of what they're reading. As a pastor I see this ALL the time. For example people make claims that the Bible contradicts itself. But 99.9 times out of 100 the person is completely inaccurate in their conclusions because they aren't checking the original context (literary and historical). It's sad because people create an erroneous view of God and faith simply because of lazy reading and inaccurate study. It happens in history and science all the time I'd assume as well. As much as I love the show House, I'm not going to assume what they depict in an episode is 100% medically accurate.
  • Look for facts over feelings: My "excitement" about the Back To The Future date moved me to react before I checked the accuracy of what I was passing on. Switch out "excitement" with confusion, anger, doubt, or animosity and the same occurs: we are moved to react to information before we understand what actually transpired. It happens all the time in relationships and groups. Avoiding this error requires taking "move slow" one step further: "be slow to repost and quick to understand." 
Don't get fooled by any more Photoshop shenanigans. Mark your calendars for October 21, 2015 - that's the real Back To The Future 2 date. 

And to the guy who pulled this fast one: well played sir. Well played. =) 

Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.
Proverbs 14:29

To answer before listening - that is folly and shame.
Proverbs 18:13

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."
James 1:19-20

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