Firstly, no- he's not.
However, texts were bouncing around this evening suggesting that Northern Ireland's premier blogger Mick Fealty was going to stand for election as a candidate on behalf of Declan Ganley's anti-EU party Libertas in the forthcoming European elections.
This all seemed a bit strange. Then I remembered seeing a tweet from Mick earlier on in the day which mentioned Libertas, so I logged on to Twitter and sure enough there was said tweet from Mick which read: "RT @declanganley Following launch of our Dublin candidate full Libertas Ireland Team, Simons - Dublin, O'Malley East and myself North West"
Whoever it was that spotted this tweet and thought it meant Mick had agreed for his name to go on the Libertas ticket obviously didn't realise the 'RT' meant that Mick was actually just retweeting a previous tweet from Ganley. It's a simple enough mistake to make, but it does show how new media are playing an increasingly prolific role in politics and communication- all of a sudden we could have had a situation on our hands where half of the country thought that Mr Slugger O'Toole was about to throw his hat into the ring in a constituency which covers much of the north and west of Ireland! Suffice to say, I texted back to explain the situation.
Gone are the traditional gatekeepers and cross-checkers. Rumours and news now spread like wildfire, whether accurate or not. And while this example illustrates the power of the internet and social networks in a very simple way, it also acts as a reminder that the net cannot simply be ignored by organisations. Those involved in reputation management need to take full account of the internet, both in terms of the opportunities and threats that it presents. Gone are the days when the dissemination of inaccurate information could be stemmed by placing a sharp telephone call with an editor.