Introducing the “Scoble 24-Hour Rule” — or how to stop a blog-borne rumor

Yesterday, after seeing reports that MyBlogLog had been acquired by Yahoo! in TechCrunch, ValleyWag and echo’d elsewhere, I posted a link to the reports and even included a bit of skepticism “If the reports are accurate” in my observation. (By the way, I think Yahoo! would be wise to acquire it.)

Around 8 p.m. central time last night, I received an e-mail from a Yahoo! PR person that, in a very polite way, informed me that the company had only acquired Bix.com yesterday and since I lead a boring life and was not doing anything except checking e-mail on a Friday night, I obviously and quickly updated the post with the accurate information.

Later in the evening, Robert Scoble, who was having an exciting evening of his own, posted what is now (at least here on the rexblog) going to be forever-known as the Scoble 24-Hour Rule for how to separate blog-rumors from blog-facts.

He says:

“Never expect bloggers to do fact checking or original reporting. But if a blog (post) survives 24-hours without anyone refuting the facts? That’s when rumors turn to belief.”

Here’s the Rex corollary to the Scoble rule: If you see a false rumor about yourself — even if you are a multi-billion-dollar-corporation — on any of the following: TechCrunch, ValleyWag, PaidContent.org, Techmeme (or the gate-keeping early-cycle meme-tracking equivalents in your industry or corner of the blogosphere) and you don’t send e-mails (IMs, comments, etc.) correcting the false rumor to the keepers of those gates, then you are signaling that the rumor is NOT false.

Granted, it’s pretty lame that such a rule and corollary need to exist. However, the same was true before blogs. Except then, while rumors didn’t have such an echo chamber — it was also harder to squelch rumors with the same echo chamber.

Update: I just remembered an exception to this rule. Apple rumors are so ubiquitous and ever-flowing, one should never believe any of them…ever.

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