Rumor and Its Components


Rumor is an unsubstantiated story that spreads from person to person in a community through word of mouth. Often these rumors are false and can affect the behavior of crowds for good or bad, such as when they cause a riot. A rumor is similar to the spreading of communicable diseases, since it can have an infectious effect on the people who hear it and believe it.

In the digital age, rumor is easily spread by social media, email and text messages. It is difficult to control, as everyone in a social network is both a source and a recipient of a rumor. Rumors can be damaging to people’s reputations and careers, especially if they are false. People can also suffer psychologically if they believe a rumor and act on it.

The word “rumor” derives from the Latin term rumorem, meaning a tale or report that is unsubstantiated. This is because the truth of a rumor may never be known. People may overhear teachers talking about an early school dismissal before it is announced publicly and the rumor spreads, but it can never be confirmed. The same is true for many other rumors that are heard, but cannot be proven.

Some rumors are more easily believed than others, and this has to do with the degree of veracity and relevance. Veracity refers to how believable a rumor is, and this can be determined by looking at the evidence provided in the story. Evidence can be either first-hand experience, when the author claims that they witnessed events associated with the rumor, or quotes an accessible source of information.

Relevance, on the other hand, has to do with how closely a rumor is connected to people’s lives. This can be determined by the correlation degree, which is equal to the product of g (veracity) and a (information importance). A rumor that is more relevant to life will spread faster than one that is less relevant.

For example, a rumor that the nuclear leakage caused by Fukushima in 2011 would pollute salt spread wildly because salt is something that many people use everyday. It is important to know these components of a rumor, because they can help us understand why some rumors are more credible than others.

The best way to dispel a rumor is to provide solid evidence of its truth. This can be done by attaching a URL pointing to the proof, quoting an accessible source of information, or employing reasoning. These strategies can also help reduce the impact of a rumor on your reputation and career. However, if you don’t have any solid evidence to back up your rumor, then it is just a rumor and you should ignore it. It is hard to stop a rumor once it has started, but you can try to slow its spread by convincing people that your rumor is false. Then, they will be less likely to believe it and share it with others.