Whenever I hear, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” I know the quote is historically accurate because we have the video to prove its authenticity.
However, Regan’s other quote, “Trust, but verify,” actually comes from a Russian rhyming proverb taught to him by Suzanne Massie, an advisor to the White House.
Yet many memes and retweets are posted on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn without fact-checking.
Today, I saw a thought-provoking quote posted on LinkedIn paired with a beautiful B&W photo of a famous actor. While the effect stopped my scrolling, something didn’t feel quite right. So, after a quick check on Google, what I uncovered disproved the actor had ever spoken these words.
While not a new concept, in 2020-2021, I applied the quote model to a series of posts here on LinkedIn. I chose a consistent color palette and font, each quote relating to a current topic or point of view.
Still, I took the time to verify each quote before posting. For example, I posted DaShanne Stokes’ “A president cannot defend a nation if he is not held accountable to its laws,” which I took directly from Dr. Stokes’ website. From Tom Waits, Marianne Williamson, Joni Mitchell, to Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ina Garten, my quotes ran the gamut.
While I’m not suggesting you must do a deep dive on Snopes or Politifact’s Truth-O-Meter, but before adding quotes with your imagery, Google, Wikipedia, GoodReads, or BrainyQuote are excellent places to start. Even BrainyQuote has this disclaimer on their terms and conditions page:
“Unlike certain websites (which shall remain nameless… but you know who you are), we strive to source our quotes and review them to ensure their accuracy. However, we can’t provide any 100% assurances about the quotes we post. That said, most people find our site enormously satisfying, and they love and adore our wonderful site.”
A quick tip: If you have a subscription to Grammarly, you can always check your content for plagiarism.
So, the next time you’re retweeting a quote, take a page from the 80s TV show Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there!” And if that doesn’t convince you, there’s that famous proverb, this time in Russian: “Доверяй, но проверяй.”