Throughout the history of humankind, rumors have played a significant role in influencing attitudes, actions, and beliefs. They are also used for both good and bad purposes, and can be deployed to enhance or destroy an individual’s reputation. However, while rumor is a well-known form of social communication, there is still much debate over its defining characteristics.
Rumors are characterized as unverified stories and statements passed around without confirmation. They can be true, false, or semi-true. They are usually spread by people with no real knowledge of the story. The word rumor comes from the Latin rumorem, meaning noise. In British English, the word rumor is spelled as rumour. In all other main varieties of English, the word rumor is preferred.
Rumors are sometimes called smear campaigns, as they are often a coordinated effort to attack an individual’s character. They are also commonly called rumor bombs, as they can spread rapidly in highly developed electronic mediated societies. Depending on the situation, a rumor bomb can be about producing an event or about re-framing an existing event. In either case, the source of the rumor can be anyone, from an anonymous person to a politician.
Rumors may be considered the best and worst of communication. According to some scholars, they are a subset of propaganda. They include stories, pictures, and significant symbols to control the opinion of a group of people. A rumor is only credible if it is proven to be true.
There are many other forms of communication that are used to influence the opinions of an audience. These include disinformation, propaganda, and assimilation. While the former three can be considered a rumor, the latter two are more complicated.
Propaganda is the practice of controlling the opinion of a group by reporting or influencing the opinions of other people. It is especially effective in a time of uncertainty, when rumors can be easily spread. But rumors have a bad rep, as they often lead to a lot of misinformation and false information. This is why rumor control is a major component of an informational program.
Rumors have a way of swaying the opinions of an audience, and they often have an emotional effect on the subject. They can cause confusion, increase anxiety, and affect actions. They can also be useful, if they are not too outlandish. In this regard, they are important to the strategic communication field, which focuses on crafting messages in support of specific organizational goals.
Managing rumors involves a four-stage process, which includes: (i) detecting and identifying the rumor, (ii) leveling or sharpening the rumor, (iii) confirming or denying the rumor, and (iv) providing a clear explanation for the rumor. It is important to recognize that the most important component of rumor control is preventing the dissemination of rumors. This is the reason why no Access Person should ever originate or spread false or misleading rumors.
It is not unusual for a person to ruin their reputation by spreading rumors. But rumors can be true when the word gets out ahead of time, such as when a school closes early.