Holy matrimony, Batman! An experiment on the speed of rumors

Contrary to popular belief, I am not engaged.

That was the Facebook status I posted Monday night after I accidentally announced my non-existent engagement.

Let me back up. On Monday, I wrote a blog post about engagement rings and how I wouldn’t want one. (Repeat: I am not getting married.) When I published the blog, I posted it onto Facebook and Twitter and left my computer. That’s usually my procedure when I publish a blog post.

Unfortunately, I had decided to publish my blog accompanied by a photo of an engagement ring.


Via Flickr user carrotcreative

I eventually returned to my computer and went onto Facebook and Twitter to see if anyone was talking. Sure enough, they were. (If you want to see more details, check out the social media story.)

People were congratulating me on my “engagement,” so I quickly commented that I wasn’t engaged. It was just a blog post. Hadn’t people read my snarky text and seen the link to my blog next to the photo?

But it was too late. People commented that they had done double takes when they saw my ring. I was getting some attention on Twitter too — all because I had posted a photo of an engagement ring.

I had unwittingly fallen into an experiment on how rumors begin. Here are my conclusions:

  • I never said I was engaged. I thought the sarcastic text would be clear. Apparently not. So I found that photos are more important than text on social media. I knew that anyway, but this was just a nice little reminder.
  • Rumors start swiftly and with little provocation. All I had to do was post a photo of an engagement ring, and holy matrimony, Batman! That was it. I had lit the match for a rumor. I’m going to file away this one if I ever need to fake any major life event.
  • Be clear. Please be clear. You don’t want to fool anyone. Because of my little social media stunt, if I ever do get engaged, no one will believe me. I’m the girl who cried proposal.

Social media are a tricky beast. One minute you think you got it. The next social media are announcing to your friends that you’re getting married. In the end, I didn’t even get a lot of page views on my blog post. Everyone was too distracted by the photo to click on the link that I had provided.

At least I learned my lesson about posting engagement ring photos: Only do it if there’s an engagement.


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