For the first time in 14 years, the Phillies are in the World Series, and Philadelphia sports fans are on cloud nine. As the playoff wins mounted, so had the enthusiasm on social media. But one Twitter user was caught in a viral misinformation spiral involving the song “Dancing on My Own,” the Philadelphia Phillies and the SEPTA subway system — and learned a valuable lesson.
On October 14, before the third game of the Phillies-Braves NLDS, Kyle (@kylepaganCB), a content creator for Philadelphia sports blog Crossing Broad, tweeted a video of people dancing on a New York City subway platform after a Robyn concert in 2019. He jokingly suggested they were Phillies fans celebrating by singing the song that has become the team’s anthem.
Everyone at the City Hall stop on the way to the Phillies pic.twitter.com/ke19LpDeJO
— Kyle (@kylepaganCB) October 14, 2022
But what he thought would be a funny tweet did not land as he expected when followers believed it was an actual video captured from SEPTA’s Broad Street line.
The tweet became as hot as Bryce Harper’s bat, accumulating over 580,000 views. It also spread beyond Twitter when someone created a YouTube video that garnered another 33,000 views in five days that then started circulating on Facebook. The Preston & Steve Show on 93.3 WMMR talked about the clip live on their morning show the following day as one of the emotional and “great moments” from the Phillies game. Other credible Phialdpehia influencers have retweeted the video, including John Powers Middleton (@johnmiddleton), the son of the Phillies owner, and Phillies Writer Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Six days after the initial post, Kyle took to TikTok to clear the air, which he also reposted on his Twitter account.
Beyond the joke (which some of our staff admittedly fell victim to) and the blissful effect “Dancing on My Own” has on our city’s baseball fans, the video got us thinking about misinformation on social media.
Today, we hear the word misinformation used by politicians and national leaders when talking about topics like COVID-19, the climate crisis or election fraud. However, is a Twitter meme classified under the same category of misinformation as these real-life issues?
Business Insider states, “Misinformation refers to false or out-of-context information that is presented as fact regardless of an intent to deceive.” By this definition, yes, you could classify a funny tweet as misinformation. Regardless of how you classify this Philadelphia flop, what appears the same is that social media has accelerated the rate at which incorrect information spreads. Kyle’s joke exhibits how far and fast misinformation can travel, no matter the harmless intent. It made its way to Philadelphia’s key media players and influencers, who shared the tweet and fooled thousands.
The rate at which the news cycle and social media communicate information increases in speed every day. It is more important than ever to ensure you have a clear strategic message, whether writing a simple social media post or a big company announcement. If you are looking to develop a clear messaging and social media strategy for your brand, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.