Rumours are unsubstantiated claims or opinions that circulate extensively without a clear source. A rumour is a type of statement in the social sciences whose veracity is not readily or ever proven. Furthermore, some researchers consider gossip to be a subset of propaganda. Rumour is defined differently in sociology, psychology, and communication studies.
Synonyms (Noun) – Gossips, Buzz, Tattle,
Synonyms (Verb) – Circulate, bruit, etc.
Meaning of Rumours
The terms “misinformation” and “disinformation” are frequently used to describe rumours (the former often seen as simply false and the latter seen as deliberately false, though usually from a government source given to the media or a foreign government). As a result, rumours are frequently considered as subsets of other communication ideas.
The present scholastic concept of rumour can be traced back to the pioneering work of German William Stern in 1902. Stern tested rumour with a “chain of subjects” who conveyed a storey from “mouth to ear” without having the right to repeat or clarify it. By the time he got to the end of the chain, he discovered that the storey had been abridged and changed. Gordon Allport, another pioneer in the field, was his pupil. Chinese whispers is a children’s game that is comparable to this experiment.
A Guide to Rumour Psychology (1944)
Robert H. Knapp [fr] published “A Psychology of Rumour” in 1944, in which he reports on his examination of over a thousand rumours written in the Boston Herald’s “Rumour Clinic” Column during World War II.
Rumour, according to him, is a suggestion for belief in a topical reference that has been transmitted without official proof. Rumour is just one type of informal social communication, which also includes myth, legend, and current humour. It differs from myth and legend in that it places a strong emphasis on current events. Whereas humour is meant to make you laugh, gossip encourages you to believe it.
Knapp classified the rumours into three categories based on his analysis of the newspaper column:
- Pipe dream rumours- Represent public wants and desired outcomes. For e.g., Japan’s oil supplies were depleted, and World War II will be over soon).
- Fear or bogey rumours are based on feared outcomes (e.g. An enemy surprise attack is imminent).
- The purpose of wedge-driving rumours is to sabotage group allegiance or interpersonal relationships (e.g. American Catholics were seeking to avoid the draft; German-Americans, Italian-Americans, Japanese-Americans were not loyal to the American side).
Rumours, as narrative IEDs, are low-cost, low-tech communication weapons that anybody can use to disrupt communication, civic affairs, or outreach initiatives. Such as those carried out by governments in crisis situations or militaries in insurgencies. “Like their explosive cousins, rumours may be manufactured and planted by almost anybody, require few resources to use, can be devastating for anyone in its direct path. And can instil terror,” Bernardi says.
Editorial Strategy for Political Communication
In politics, rumour has always played a significant role, with bad reports about an opponent usually being more powerful than favourable stories about one’s own side.
As debunking sites as well as the Internet’s recent arrival as a new media tool has revealed ever new possibilities for the rapid spread of rumour. Previous studies had also ignored the specific shape or style of purposefully determined rumours for political reasons in specific situations. Despite the fact that the use of rumour for mass-media-disseminated war propaganda has been popular since World War I.
Some legal scholars have addressed political uses of rumour in the early twenty-first century. Though their conceptualization of it remains social psychological, and their solutions to it as a public problem are from a legal scholarly perspective. Largely involving libel and privacy laws, as well as damage to personal reputations.
Effect Of Rumours On Mental Health
Being the subject of gossip is not only humiliating in the short term. But it may also harm a person’s self-confidence and self-esteem in the long run. This influence may have a role in the development of despair, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and eating disorders in some people.
What Exactly Is Gossip?
While there are similarities between gossip and rumours, there are also differences. A rumour is a piece of unsubstantiated information about almost any subject that is spread from one person to another. Gossip is any type of scandalous information about a person’s relationships, love life, sexual conduct. Or other personal concerns they may not feel comfortable disclosing that causes humiliation, embarrassment, or suffering in the target.
Gossip can happen at work, in the classroom, and among friends.
The ease and speed with which bad information about persons can be shared has increased as social media’s popularity and general use has grown. If a rumour is posted on a social media platform, it can spread in seconds.
Why Do People Talk About Others?
For a variety of reasons, people might gossip. Some people exploit the sharing of unpleasant information about others to make themselves feel better. This is especially true for adolescents, who may battle with self-esteem as part of the process of forming their own identity. Knowing something no one else knows about another person can make a person feel important. And gossiping can sometimes be a technique to seek attention. In order to feel accepted, some people may engage in gossip.
It may feel necessary to participate in gossip if other members of a social group are doing so.
Gossip’s Dangerous Impact
Those who are the subject of gossip often find it to be a very painful experience. Being the subject of gossip is not only humiliating in the short term. But it may also harm a person’s self-confidence and self-esteem in the long run. This influence may have a role in the development of despair, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and eating disorders in some people.
Being the target of gossip may be unpleasant, especially for teenagers. Who are more prone to feel pressured to fit in and be accepted.
Fake News vs. Rumours vs. Gossip
Rumours are described as widely circulated information that lacks a credible source. They aren’t all negative. Promotions, engagements, and honours, for example, can appear to be favourable rumours.
What is the risk?
When Rumours or Gossips become “fake news,” the consequences can be immediate as well as long-term. A “false news” tale can usually agitate your emotions and disrupt your attitude. The storey, and the reaction it elicited, can linger in your head. Even after you realise it’s fake, depending on the intensity of your feelings. If you encounter another storey about the same issue, you might remember how you felt.
Rumours and gossip appear harmless on their own; they almost seem like a harmless sport. However, there is a point at which they can be hazardous to your health.
How can we Stop Rumours
1) Allowing them to see how much you care is not a good idea.
Avoid appearing enraged, offended, or injured as a result of the rumours. Even if they were truly cruel and unpleasant, allowing oneself to be upset in public allows the other side to triumph. If you’re genuinely unhappy about them, talking to a few close pals will help a lot more than letting the rest of the world know how you’re feeling. So retain a stiff upper lip, a high head, and don’t let them get the best of you.
2) Don’t act as if you don’t know what you’re doing.-
Don’t act as if you’re unaware of what others are saying about you. Acting as though you have no idea what’s going on will only make people believe the stories are genuine. If everyone else in your school or office has heard the rumours, it’s pointless to act as if you haven’t. The first step in dealing with a rumour about you is to admit that you are aware of it.
3) If you need to, speak with an adult or someone in a position of authority.
Sure, talking to an adult or your supervisor about terrible rumours isn’t nice. But it can help you feel better about the situation by getting the person who spread them in trouble. If the rumours are being shared at school. And you know who began them. Speaking with an authority figure can give the rumor-spreader a good scare, causing the rumours to stop as soon as possible.
4) Fighting fire with fire isn’t a good idea.
Though it may be tempting to counter the rumour with another rumour, you should avoid engaging in the low-life practise of spreading rumours. Sure, you can create a rumour about the person who began it. Or an entirely different rumour just to get people to stop talking about you. But if you do, you’ll only make matters worse and appear desperate. Just like the person or people who started the rumour in the first place.
How to take action against Rumours: –
1) Face the cause of the problem
You should speak with the person who disseminated the rumour if you know who did it. Keep your head up and talk to the person honestly about why he or she spread the storey. Acknowledging the difficulties it has created without becoming enraged. “I know we’re not best friends,” you might say. “But spreading false tales about me isn’t the way to fix our problems”.
2) Disseminate the rumour.
Yes, it is correct. Declare the rumour or post it prominently. You take away part of the rumor’s momentum by admitting it. Rumors spread like wildfire because those who spread them want to earn social standing. Which requires them to have the “inside scoop”. They won’t have any incentive to spread the rumour if you broadcast their “inside information.” Everyone will already be aware!
3) Make sure you look after yourself.
People can become annoyed, furious, or even depressed as a result of rumours. Keep your head high and remember who you are, regardless of what others say about you. Don’t allow other people define your worth in life, and stay strong regardless of what others say about you. Maintain your self-esteem despite what others say about you by spending time with excellent friends, getting adequate sleep. And maintaining your self-esteem despite what others say about you.
4) Find out what gives the rumour credence and put an end to it.
People are more prone to spread rumours that are credible and based on evidence. If the two people involved flirt at the office or eat lunch together every day. For example, a rumour of a workplace affair will spread quickly. If you can, figure out what’s causing the rumour to spread.
5) If possible, show that it isn’t true.
You should present any evidence you have that can disprove the rumour. Bring your lover to the next party, for example, if others say your guy isn’t real. Throw a pool party if people are making fun of you because you can’t swim. Don’t think it’s beneath your dignity to present a document that can definitively disprove the claim.
Make a stand. Don’t mix “defensiveness” with “taking a position for integrity.” Find a medium through which you may share your perspective. Because quiet isn’t always golden. It’s a good idea to have a few words ready to say, such as, “I don’t believe that is true”. This looks to be a rumour that is untrue (or malicious). Things like these have the potential to cause a great deal of harm”. When you say this, look people in the eyes. Ascertain that your point of view is heard.