One of the things that frustrates people about “the media” is that they’ll make a mistake on the front page and then bury the correction on an inside page.
This time, I think we have made an error that deserves a little more prominence than that.
As it turns out, the Twitter page that bears the name and image of Ole Miss football coach Houston Nutt does not belong to Nutt nor does he maintain it in any fashion.
The Daily Journal included Nutt in a story Thursday on coaches who are active with Twitter, a popular internet-based communication tool.
Again: It’s not his page. We were wrong.
Unlike Web pages, which have a traceable history and ownership – if you take the time to dig around on the Internet to find them – there’s no quick way to determine the provenance of a Twitter page, unless the operator is willing to take credit for it in direct, non-Internet, contact.
As it happens, Nutt did not return two calls from the Journal in recent days seeking comment before the story was published. Without that contact, of course, we should have double-checked with the Ole Miss media relations office to make sure we had our facts straight.
And on this subject, there’s a lot of confusion out there.
There are a lot of fake Twitter accounts – Shaquille O’Neal got so irritated at a fake Shaq that he launched his own account as The_Real_Shaq. A lot of actors and politicians have also found that they have had to wade into the Twitterverse to retake control of their names from others.
The tweets at the non-Nutt site are, now that I take a closer look, kinda nutty – but not entirely out of bounds.
I heard some suggestion on Friday that it’s being maintained by somebody who might be trying to reel in Rebels fans by being relatively innocuous, with the intention of writing something embarassing later on.
A quick reading of the Terms of Service suggests that Coach Nutt, or someone at Ole Miss, should be able to ask the current imposter to cease and desist. Of course, I’m not a lawyer but I have watched a lot of Law amp& Order reruns.
Again, we’re sorry for the mistake – both to Coach Nutt and the Ole Miss media relations staff and to our readers. We can do better.
John L. Pitts is sports editor of the Daily Journal. He has a Twitter page (@JohnLPitts) to make sure no imposters try to steal his name.