Mike Isaac

Recent Posts by Mike Isaac

Hurricane Sandy’s Instagram Moment, Minus the ’Shopped Shots

Jesse Jo, Facebook

In the age of Photoshop, expect Internet chatter around every national event to come complete with fake pictures. With Hurricane Sandy fast approaching the Eastern seaboard, we’ve already spotted quite a few hoax shots circulating on the Web.

Instacane.com — a single-serving site that has collected all images with hashtags related to the hurricane — is riddled with fakes and repeats. And now that the site has reached critical mass, irrelevant photos with the #sandy hashtag are beginning to populate the feed.

Amid the fakes, however, there are some amazing real photos.

Take this picture of a construction crane at 57th Street and 6th Avenue in midtown Manhattan. It’s nearly snapped in half, dangling in front of the city’s eyes.

How do we know this is the real thing? Unlike previous photos spreading fast over Twitter, we’re seeing the same situation shot from multiple angles across the city, tweeted and reported on by everyone from CNN anchor Piers Morgan to Reuters social media editor Anthony DeRosa. And regular Joes on the street are tweeting it, too, not just the major news orgs.

Twitter consensus right now: Stay away from that intersection.

Keep in mind, however, that just because a photo isn’t as spectacular as a dangling crane doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

Like this photo on the left, taken by Vanity Fair contributing editor Andrew Hearst. It’s a picture of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, nearly a foot away from overflow.

While it may not win a Pulitzer, it’s providing Brooklynites with actual important information.

Same thing for the Red Hook area, which is seeing waters rapidly sweep in over the streets.

by @greenpainting, Twitter

The fact that we must question these shots at all, however, raises an interesting point. In our “tweet first, ask questions later” world, the photos that spread faster aren’t necessarily the real ones, but those most sensational or poignant (see also the three-month-old “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” shot here). False information spreads wider, faster, which in turn could potentially heighten alarm among an already freaked-out public.

So, a public service announcement: Next shot you see of a tidal wave about to engulf Lady Liberty, think before you tweet.

Unless, of course, you see Godzilla emerging from the water behind her. Then you need to tweet immediately.

George Takei, Facebook

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald