Grand Central not shut down | Use Twitter responsibly

Grand Central false alarm

Grand Central shut down

Grand Central Station interior; image from Flickr.

People were all aTwitter, saying Grand Central Station was shut down today, but it turns out that was either a hoax or a misunderstanding. According to The Huffington Post and Gothamist, the commotion started when someone linked to a 2007 story about an explosion at Grand Central. It was shut down back then, but not today.

It does say on the linked story and photo that it’s from 2007, but it’s waaaaay down at the bottom. I haven’t been able to track down down the original post that started this mayhem, but it’s an interesting lesson in social networking. You can use Twitter to find the best place to get a new tire, advertise short term loans or spread panic and lies.

Double check before you double click

I think the best thing we can learn from this is that before we copy a link, ReTweet a post or update our Facebook statuses with the latest tidbit of surprising information, we should check our facts. I have been guilty of Facebooking without thinking, for sure.

A friend of mine posted in his status update that Robert Pattinson was going to play Spider-Man in “Spider-Man 4,” and I immediately reacted, stating my displeasure. Turns out, he had stumbled across an April Fool’s Day story. Not only was the story old news, it was a hoax. Luckily for me, this did little harm other than making me look foolish. This Grand Central shut down business is a good example of a time when it could cause a little more damage.

No more he said, I said

The best way to know if information is accurate is to check it out on an actual news web site. Newspapers and news television stations are probably the most careful, best sources of information. Sure, they get it wrong sometimes, too, but you can trust them most of the time.

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