A rumor is a social phenomenon transmitted by word of mouth. It gives the community information about an individual, a happening, or a condition. Rumors can be interpreted in various ways; however, the modern scholarly definition emphasizes transmission. Rumours are topical and relate to public issues, and are not understood in individual terms. The four stages of a rumor are: introduction, transmission, discussion, and confirmation.
Rumors may be true or false. Rumors about a war or a scandal can result in the crowd leaving in excitement. However, the extent of Rumor’s power is unknown. Rumors have been found to be a powerful force that can manipulate people through their voice. They can even compel people to do what they want to do. A good example of such an event is a rumor involving an affair.
Rumors can be true or false. While people tend to spread false and silly stories, many rumor-mongers are not very careful to monitor what they are saying. Moreover, when people are nervous, they tend to spread rumours without verifying the facts. Therefore, it is important to verify and disprove the rumor before believing it. The first step in determining a rumor’s truthfulness is to identify the source.
The sources and dynamics of rumors differ. In highly developed electronic mediated societies, news travels fast. In the United States, news travels fast, and a rumor can be either partisan or neutral. This phenomenon is known as rumor bomb. The rumors may originate from the same source as news or information, or they may be spread by the same person. Therefore, a rumor bomb has four important components:
Rumors can damage relationships and cause alienation. They can also lead to relational aggression and ostracizing behavior. Therefore, parents should teach their children to differentiate between rumors and gossip. A rumor is unconfirmed, while a gossip is based on fact. The people spreading a rumor have no way to verify its truthfulness. The rumor is more likely to hurt your child than to help them.
Research into rumor has not coalesced into a mainstream approach. However, most researchers agree that gossip can refer to both positive and negative aspects of personal affairs and can have positive and negative social effects. Early factionalism was reflected in the opposing views of Gluckman and Paine. While Gluckman maintained that gossip was an act of group interests, Paine countered that it was a tool for personal advantage. The research of Wilson, Wilczynski, Wells, and Weiser evaluated various vignettes that were characterized by gossip and found that gossips promoted group norms, but also negatively reflected on targets.