Gossip is understood as just an idle talk or rumour spreading, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. It forms one of the oldest and most common means of sharing suspicions, apprehensions and unproven facts and views about others, particularly those whom we dislike.
However, gossip also has a reputation for the introduction of errors, deliberate vilification of facts and other variations of imagined occurrences into the information transmitted or communicated. The word gossip also carries implications that the news so transmitted has a personal or trivial nature, as opposed to normal conversation.
In recent years gossip has been researched in terms of its evolutionary psychology origins. The research has come to the conclusion that gossip is an important means by which people can monitor cooperative reputations and so maintain widespread “indirect reciprocity”.
“Indirect reciprocity” is defined here as “I help you and somebody else helps me”. Gossip has also been identified by Robin Dunbar an evolutionary biologist as aiding social bonding in large groups which consists of smaller whispering groups.
Gossip is sometimes used to specifically refer to the spreading of dirt and misinformation through excited discussion of scandals. Some newspapers carry “gossip columns” which detail the social and personal lives of celebrities or the élite of society.
However, gossip can be used productively for individual benefit or to destroy evil-mongers or to achieve organizational goals or to do an indirect good to the society. You don’t agree? Then read further. The Laws of Gossip can be as good as a prophecy or a well planned propaganda.
Hereunder are some Laws of Gossip:
1st Law: The spread of gossip is inversely proportional to the decibel level of the initiator.
Call someone aside and whisper to him/her and the subsequent transmission of gossip gets louder and louder.
2nd Law: The speed of secondary gossip transmission is inversely proportional to the speed of the primary communication of gossip.
Ask someone, “Do you know something?” the reply would be “No.”. Then take your own sweet time to narrate a juicy story in spicy bits and flavored pieces with measured pauses. Further transmissions of gossip would be at mind boggling speed.
3rd Law: The credibility of gossip is directly proportional to the rating of secrecy of the issue.
“Can I share with you a top secret? I got it straight from the whistle blower. Promise me that you won’t tell anyone. Strictly between you and me, OK?” This will ensure the speed, spread and credibility of gossip.
4th Law: The distortion of the details of gossip is directly proportional to the number of gossip couriers.
Tell some one that the Boss vomited something that is as black as a crow. In the evening someone else is bound to tell you, “Do you know? Our Boss…poor fellow! Vomited a crow, I believe.”
5th Law: The effectiveness of gossip is measured by the time taken for the gossip to comeback to the originator.
Tell someone that it was indeed the Karnataka Reddy brothers who are financing the mayhem in Hyderabad since last few days to take revenge on the AP Government for stopping the work at Obulapuram Mining sites.
If you follow the first, second and third laws in originating the gossip, within an hour some stranger will boast to you about the secret behind the mindless violence in Hyderabad since last three days..
6th Law: Gossip is the basic domain of idle people with agile minds and fertile imagination. Therefore, not only a dream, but gossip, like prophecy, comes true.
Tell people that children born out of inter caste marriages tend to have very high IQs. Tell them that this is scientifically proved and published in Nature magazine and other scientific journals. Who knows? Very soon marriage bureau may do roaring business in inter caste wedlock.
7th Law: Poor minds discuss people. For them gossip is worship. With each gossip ship, they set sail into un-chartered waters, spreading the gossip far and wide, until they strongly believe their own gossip to be the gospel truth. Remember Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, the right hand of propaganda to Adolf Hitler?
Go ahead…put gossip to the most productive use…for the general benefit of society.