Our headline reflects one of the many informative tidbits to be found in a recent interview of Snopes creator David Mikkelson by io9 contributor Cheryl Eddy. Another is how exactly the site owes its name to the work of William Faulkner.
Mikkelson has been involved with the general topic of urban legends since the earliest days of the Internet. He chuckles in the conversation about his anonymous fame and notes just how accelerated the spread of unverified info has become:
“It used to be, say, for a picture or video to go viral, people would forward it to each other by email, and it took weeks for it to build up. There’d be plenty of lead time to try and figure out where it came from, and whether it was real.”
“Now, it’s much more ephemeral; things come and go so quickly. People post a funny video on Facebook, and 20 minutes later it’s a headline in the New York Post or something. There’s much less time to identify them and write about them.”
When Eddy asks Mikkelson to recall the most surprising item that turned out to be true, the Snopes maestro revisits a crazy tale encompassing UCLA’s archives, a retired doctor in Pennsylvania and a machine shop worker with a very strange way of pleasuring himself. We look forward to the new Snopes, which Mikkelson says will come with added staff.