Truthsourcing

On the way to work this morning about how 527 groups weren’t having much success with their attack ads this election cycle.

The story blamed attack ads’ ineffectiveness on lack of resources; in this economy, everyone is tapped out and these groups just cannot afford to air the commercials as often.

But I think they buried the lead. Only late in the piece did they quote a liberal operative who suggested that the ads aren’t effective anymore because they aren’t getting a free media ride due to Internet fact-checking.

I believe that fact explains why these attacks no longer have as much effect. People can check the facts easily. The concept of is an idea born from the Internet: By putting a community as vast as those available online to work on a project or problem, you’re likely to arrive at a better solution than if only a few people were working on it.

Two heads are better than one. Or a zillion heads are better than some consultants.

So what we have with online political fact-checking is truthsourcing: Infinite resources researching the evidence (or lack thereof) to verify a given claim. With truthsourcing, you’re likely to arrive at the truth much quicker and disseminate that truth much more broadly than if you had team of researchers and a PR firm.

This is particularly true with political speech because of both the passion and the partisanship involved. Researchers are far more passionate about debunking bogus claims and, due to the over-the-top rhetoric you can find in online political forums and on blogs, people have learned to be much more skeptical about a given allegation.

As Mulder might say: The truth is out there.

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About David Erickson

David Erickson is principal of e-Strategy Media, a digital marketing consultancy based in Minnesota. David has extensive experience in digital marketing and is often used as an expert source by media and asked to speak on the topic before organizations and to sit on panel discussions.