Get your facts straight

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a sloppily and carelessly dashed-off article, blog post, social media message, email, memo, or mission statement will go viral faster than the Twitterati can type OMG.

Take The Daily Mail’s web review of the New Year’s Day episode of eagerly awaited BBC drama Sherlock, which was published a few days before the paper gleefully detailed Twitter outrage at the show’s London Underground-related errors.

The blog review has since been quietly corrected, but – as this Guardian Media Monkey post reveals – the stars’ names were wrong in the original article. Not just a bit wrong. Very wrong. Benedict Cumberbatch became Dominic, and Martin Freeman was Tim. And guest star Derren Brown (who, admittedly, only had a small cameo role) was listed as Darren.

What is more important? The fact that Watson travels on the London Underground’s Jubilee Line through Monument – which is on the District Line, apparently – before emerging, against all geographical and Tuberical possibility, at Euston… or that the actors’ were moronically misidentified?

Neither, in the great scheme of things, are especially important. Cumberbatch and Freeman – and Brown, come to that – are unlikely to be hugely upset. They’ve probably been called worse.

But it is embarrassing. Especially as ‘accuracy’ is a journalistic watchword. Or, it should be.

In fact, it should be a watchword for any business. Getting a name wrong is unnecessary and silly. It makes you look careless and slapdash. But what if you got something else wrong? A tariff, perhaps? Or a product description?

And the moral of this story? No matter how rushed you are, take the time to check your facts. It could make all the difference. It will, at least, stop you and your business from looking stupid.