Do you ever read a quotation online and wonder if that person really said what they said? Well, you’re not alone, and for a good reason. In the age of easily accessible information, finding legitimate quotes is astoundingly difficult.
We consistently misquote famous historical figures like Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Oscar Wilde, and Winston Churchill. And we do this despite records of most, if not all sources. In addition to misquotes, there are also misattributed quotes, where one person gets the credit for someone else, and abjectly false quotes.
You might be wondering, “Why am I reading this on a marketing blog?” Because fake, misleading or outright mistaken quotes are becoming more commonplace on all forms of digital communications, even websites.
Adding inspirational quotes to Facebook walls is not a relatively new phenomenon. Discovering that many of them aren’t true, however, is something new. For years, you could get away with saying the famous Einstein quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Except that there is no known evidence the great physicist ever uttered that sentence.
The first written instance is in the Narcotics Anonymous basic text – in 1981.
So, please don’t put it on your website. And whatever you do, don’t ever put a quote you’re unsure of on the walls of your professional organization’s training facility.
Words of inspiration, celebration, achievement, goal-setting, and motivation help us in everyday life. When we need a quick pick-me-up, we often turn to industry leaders, politicians, and coaches to encourage us to keep moving forward.
And if we find out those quotations are falsified, we tend to lose the meaning and motivation behind them. Learning references are wrong may also sow distrust of future words of wisdom no matter if they’re right or not. Should a business fail to use legitimate quotes and instead opt for the first page on Pinterest, you run the risk of losing credibility in the public eye.