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Rumours In The Age Of Social Media

The Singapore Twitter-sphere was set alive on Sunday night about a blog posting the “reported” heart attack of Singapore’s 1st Prime Minister.

Click on this link at http://search.twitter.com/search?q="lee+kuan+yew" to see what Singaporeans have been tweeting about.

While most Singapore Tweeters have questioned the truth of the post, there have yet to be any confirm reports on the issue.

One Singapore Tweeter even called the hospital to check but all she got was “we cannot disclose”.

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The speculation was heightened from a forum that highlighted of more security at the stated hospital.

As the night wears off, the tweets grow longer and without any official news or respond team, there is increase speculation that the rumour might be true.

Online rumours of the death of famous people isn’t something new. Steve Jobs has been a target of his rumoured death and one in 2008 caused Apple’s stock price to drop by 10%. However, Apple’s PR team was quick to react.

With social networking sites now a popular source of information for the digital generation, should the Singapore government also have a social networking/media respond team in place to address such online rumours?

Whether the rumour is true or not, this incident shows why it is important for the brand or, in this case, the government to have a respond procedure on how to denounce rumours online or address them quickly.

A simple Google Alert search would have alerted the team and the team should then have a communication process which is communicated online or through media sources.

Such online rumours will not be the last, hence, it is important that government offices looked at their communication process to address such online rumours quickly and thoroughly.

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