“I heard he left the country to escape his debts” rumors Sarah J. “Yes! He suffers from a gambling problem” gossips Patricia F.
It is certainly safe to say that almost everyone gossips or even spreads rumors! According to social psychologist Laurent Bègue, about 60% of adult conversations are about someone who isn’t present.
Although I thought terms ‘gossip’ and ‘rumor’ were the same, it turns out they are slightly different in terms of intensity. According to Ralph L. Rosnow (1976) a rumor is described as public communications that are infused with private hypotheses about how the world works; or ways of making sense to help us cope with our anxieties and uncertainties. Gossip on the other hand, is more consequential, personal and intimate, defined as casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.
To my surprise, I have discovered that some scientists believe that rumors and gossip deflect a positive impact on society. Author Robin Dunbar argued in his book of 1996 ‘Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language’ that in order for individuals to service their relationships and maintain their alliances, a certain level of vocal grooming has to be maintained. Dunbar has compared it to the principle of: if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. I personally disagree with him. Gossip (and especially rumors) are wrong, hurtful and immoral.
Gossip and rumors actually have a history!
During and after World War II, there was a general concern over national safety and damage to morale due to rumors spreading false alarm and raising false hope. Gordon W. Allport and Leo Postman conducted research on rumor psychology during 1947, followed by more research during the late 1960’s and 1970’s providing more grounded insights into the effects of rumors and gossip on evolution of human intelligence and social life.
Private SNAFU – Rumors (1943) – World War II Cartoon
Does Social Media aid in spreading Rumors and Gossip?
I personally remember in the past, during the 90’s to be exact, how gossip and rumors revolved around parties, gatherings and over-the-fence neighboring chats, therefore limiting its creation, existence and maintenance. Needless to say of course how societies were much more reserved and conservative as opposed to the current liberal displays, hence less ugly rumors and gossip. However, throughout the past decade or so, I have witnessed how the evolvement of social and digital media has drastically changed our social behaviors. Nowadays, the ease of access to information (about anything or anyone) is a piece of cake. Added to that is the ease of manipulation and fabrication of not only stories, but actual photos and videos of individuals, just a few clicks away. The privacy and security of one’s life is jeopardized by this ease of access…Google can tell it all! I googled my name once and my pictures appeared! To let you in on a little secret, I am officially Facebook-free for over a year now (shhh).
When looking into the printing industry (I remember how I used to receive gossip magazines from the UK via mail box!), I’ve discovered that publishers have profited from gossip since the rise of the printing press (and later gossip magazines, like Hello and OK, became a hit). Television, newspapers and online versions of most commercial media now have significant gossip segments: all platforms forming a strong foundation for gossip and rumors. Added to that is the rise of social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, causing the fortunes of the gossip business to enormously expand.
source: google images
As for the realistic average day-to-day life of a regular person, Facebook, Instagram and particularly WhatsApp have become a key means of communication universally. There is no limit as to how fast, easy and globally one can share information. There is a frenzy of people sharing all sorts of videos, photos and stories through WhatsApp like a virus! Psychiatrist and neuroscience researcher Sean Luo of Columbia University, states that new studies on addiction of social media are emerging, estimating that at least 1 percent of Internet users worldwide need treatment.
To warp up, it is safe to say that just like everything else in life, the digital era has brought with it both pros and cons; lets hope the pros outweigh the cons!
My desire for being a professional journalist is a discourse that I find unavoidable to share. Driven by the conventions of this discipline by my role models Christiane Amanpour, Anderson Cooper, and Oprah Winfrey today I continue to find out how the conventions are taking shape especially in this digital age. Journalism has been a big part of my life from a young age as I remember that I always wanted to be a journalist and start my own magazine company. Lately, I have found myself questioning myself on how I as a journalist can survive in the digital age. Whether I should change my career or continue to follow my passion even though Journalism is going through a difficult transition. The question I ponder upon the most is whether journalism is really going through a difficult phase or is it just getting better.
I can start off from 1990 when the www also known as World Wide Web came into the world it changed the world it was something exciting you could browse information on your favorite artists from Jay-Z, Destiny’s child and you could even find some governmental secrets. I can still remember opening my first email it was intriguing as I could communicate with my siblings who were living in England and some of my friends. Those were some of the first changes that occurred in the world wide web revolution; the simple shift of conversation from letter writing which took a few days or months to reach to the reach to the other end of this instant method that would be known as e-mailing.
With the birth of the Internet came social media are websites and applications that allow the user to be able to create and share content or to participate in other social networking sites. Facebook originated February 4th, 2004 it was founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow college roommate Eduardo Saverin. I’m an online social networking service where people are allowed to comment and connect with other people from different nationalities where they are allowed to post videos and photos, send messages and update on their status allowing the user to share their everyday moments with friends and families both near and afar. Twitter, another networking site that enables users to direct and read short 140 messages, which are called tweets. From journalism perspective twitter, has changed the way news is collected, spread and consumed.
One journalist and blogger says, “One small error can compound itself instantaneously, thanks to the eager efforts of would-be investigators lurking in the comments section and armed with instant search. Corrections are no longer an afterthought process – they happen in real-time for the world to see. This also means that the audience will penalize wrong reporting harshly. So you had better make sure your reporting is ironclad”. Amy Cassel (2013).
It’s amazing what digital age has done for journalism. One would think that it will be difficult that the only way people can access is on TV, newspapers or magazines but really when it comes to Twitter, news can be breaking at any moment. Anyone can update on news it doesn’t have to be a journalist as long as they were there at an event they can update the news on Twitter, as a journalist myself have updated news on Twitter and on Facebook. How many people in the world today would say that they get their news from watching TV, listening to Radio or magazines the majority of people now have cell phones access to The Internet.
Digital age has brought in a tremendous new life for journalists, journalists are now able to communicate with their readers and get their feedback, which is good. I can proudly say that with the digital revolution people are more outspoken on what’s happening in the world. Now we could watch the news on TV there is a new thing that is also changing journalism.
It’s amazing what digital age has done for journalism. One would think that it will be difficult that the only way people could access news was on TV, newspapers or magazines but really when it comes to Twitter, news can be breaking at any moment, anyone can update on news it doesn’t have to be a journalist as long as they were there at an event they can update the news on Twitter, as a journalist myself have updated news on Twitter and on Facebook besides Twitter and Facebook. How many people in the world today would say that they get their news from watching TV, listening to Radio or magazines the majority of people now have cell phones access to The Internet.
Sales have dropped as people are constantly reading online through mobile phones, tablets,l Ipads there are even apps on the phone now people can download news sites from the Huffington post, and the New York times. Digital age has brought in a tremendous new life for journalists, journalists are now able to communicate with their readers and get their feedback, which is good.
I can proudly say that with the digital revolution people are more outspoken on what’s happening in the world. Now we could watch the news on TV there is a new thing that is also changing journalism it’s called Live blogging, a live blog is a running commentary on an event that is on notion you’re keeping your readers up to date on the event for instances the Olympics, world cup and the Wimbledon and many others it is similar to a live television or live radio.
One of the best things about digital age is that it has given the audience a platform, a chance for them to tell their stories there now able to publish their own stories. Other digital tools that have impacted journalism in the digital age are Skype, videophone calls, iPhone apps and YouTube. So those are the good things that are currently changing journalism in the digital age.
The worrying factor that is scaring me as a journalist in the digital age is journalists are also paying less attention in clarifying their works and sources for their stories, now more than ever journalists are under more pressure than ever before such stories as human interests stories, entertainment news and tabloid journalism have abruptly increased over the years through this changes they have deeply influenced the public news demands, the media’s new offer, and the role of journalism.
From my experience working in a magazine company, my boss used to constantly remind us the writers and editors to content update on the blog website, an update on Facebook and Twitter hear from the readers point of views what needs to be done, how to improve on the magazine.
” Information has gone from scarce to superabundant. That brings huge new benefits, says Kenneth Cukier (interviewed here)—but also big headaches”, Kenneth Cukier.
Yes we have gotten all these new opportunities but they are challenges that journalists are facing with all these accessible governments have become even more strict with journalists, governments have restricted most sites.
For instance, databases and the computers are good sources even with these changes Journalists still face challenges with the government, the journalist who publish sensitive stories still face punishment from the government this can get them to lose their status, salary cut, being fired or get a suspension from the media community.