If you work with blockchain technology, then you’re probably asked this question all the time: “How do you stay up-to-date on industry news?” And to be honest, it’s difficult to give a consistent answer. The blockchain industry is changing constantly. It’s not a space with a lot of definitive long-form print media available. Even one of the first Blockchain for Dummies books was out of date by the time it made it to print.
Information is a challenge. Everyone wants to know what’s new and where the breakthroughs are coming from. But getting sucked into the constant churn of news can become time-consuming, draining and counterproductive. That’s why it’s best to get your information from the initial source—a blog, thought leader, a founder, press releases, and other news direct from a company or government agency. Double-checking stories and thinking twice about unfamiliar sources can also help ensure what you read, hear and share is the real deal.
Here’s how you can help ensure the news you consume is both timely and accurate:
1. Look to thought leaders in the space.
Even people within the blockchain industry can have a tough time telling whether news—or even a company—is legitimate or not.
To avoid as much falsity as possible, get your information from people who have been in the industry since the beginning. They should have a track record to back their assertions. An easy way to start cultivating a dependable news ecosystem is to follow the companies and founders that interest you on various channels.
Medium and Twitter are useful and productive channels for getting your news and insights right from the source. This is where many of the thought leaders you may want to follow post both news and musings on the blockchain industry.
To start, look to Michael Casey and Paul Vigna, the authors of The Age of Cryptocurrency and The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything. Then, consider Laura Shin of Unchained, Kelly Weaver of Melrose PR, Nick Szabo, Caitlin Long—all reliable sources for what’s happening in various areas of the blockchain space.
Remember, you still have to stay alert for fake accounts that offer misleading or incorrect information and news. There have been fake accounts created for thought leaders in the past, so exercise caution when you first begin following someone.
2. Use social media for fast-paced news, but beware of misinformation and hacks.
Social media is an excellent way to stay on top of news “as it’s happening.” But the danger inherent in these platforms is evident—not all the news you see on social media is actually true.
In some cases, there are small errors and inconsistencies that can add up to a misleading account of what’s happening. But there are also plenty of trolls and fake accounts out there that deliberately attempt to manipulate what people see online.
Twitter understands this and is cracking down. They’ve suspended 70 million accounts in May and June alone, with more scheduled in the coming months. And Facebook is being pressured to change policies and pay hefty fines for sharing misleading content.
Unfortunately, online communities and social media sites present more risks than just “fake news.”
You have to be careful of account hacks, malicious links, and even coordinated market manipulations. It’s not unusual for people online to sensationalize a company or attempt to manipulate the price of a cryptocurrency for their own personal gain.
The best practice is to take breaking news with a grain of salt. And if you’re unsure about any of the information you see on your feed, wait to double-check its veracity.
3. Reference multiple publications to cross-check news and company information.
A new study led by MIT researcher Soroush Vosoughi came to a somewhat depressing, if not all that surprising, conclusion: false information travels faster than the truth on social media. While there are plenty of bad actors working to spread misinformation, there are ways to help counteract the problem. Verifying information before sharing has to become a standard, and the best way to do that is by getting a second—or even third and fourth—opinion.
Cross-referencing different publications and sources is the easiest and most effective way to find inconsistencies in news reports. You can get some news from Twitter or Reddit, but it’s a good idea to then look elsewhere for confirmation. Try checking Medium for posts related to what’s happening but also look to major publications who build fact-checking into their process. A fact-checked article is much more reliable, and it will absolutely have source links or explanations for where the information was originally posted.
Truthfully, it’s not easy to stay up-to-date in an industry that evolves as quickly as blockchain—especially as its rise has coincided with that of fake news and propaganda online. Still, a strong dose of skepticism and a habit of checking multiple sources are the best ways to combat falsehoods while staying on the cutting edge of the space.