Rumour Management in Politics and Business
A rumor is a “short story of various explanations of occurrences passing from person to person, usually pertaining to an item, situation, and/or subject in the general public interest.” In English, the word rumor means “of a kind; unreal; exaggerated.” Like other languages, Spanish has the word “tro” which means “thought.” So rumor in Spanish means “thought.” If you want to be safe when talking to someone you know, it’s best to learn some basic words about Spanish so you won’t be accused of repeating something that someone said.
A good way to prevent the occurrence of any form of rumour bomb is to carefully listen and carefully decipher what someone is saying. By carefully listening, you will be able to discern if any of what they are saying is true. For example, if someone is claiming that you committed a crime, but you have only been told that you were involved in a minor traffic accident, chances are this is not the truth. By carefully paying attention, you will have the advantage of being able to determine if the person saying it is really telling you the truth about the circumstances.
Rumors are quite common in everyday life. For example, there are many instances in which we are pressured into believing lies, rumors, and false reality by the people around us, our peers, and even our government. Through extensive communication studies, social science research, and interviews with many social scientists, I have determined that it is indeed the case that when someone is repeating a lie they are doing so because they are either hoping for a reward, avoiding consequences, or they are simply repeating a strategy that they have used before and are trying to use again.
How exactly can we determine if something is a rumour or fact? Well, we can ask simple questions like: Did you hear that on the news? Was that said by a friend? Was that something that was exaggerated or completely true? By asking these types of simple questions, we will be able to tell quite easily if a rumour is actually worthwhile listening to or not; as well as whether the person who is repeating the rumour has any kind of influence over you or not.
However, the problem arises when someone is constantly making unfounded claims about things. For example, a friend who is constantly saying, “Everybody is getting a lousy rap” could be spreading misinformation. Likewise, people who claim, “Drugs are bad and you shouldn’t do them” could also be spreading misinformation. In other words, the entire discussion about whether drugs are bad or not is just a huge rumour bomb. What’s worse is when a rumour bomb is allowed to continue to circulate and eventually become more believable than the original rumour. This is when it becomes extremely dangerous and problematic, especially when the original rumour turns out to be false and people get severely hurt as a result.
There is yet another type of rumour that can be effectively managed by applying the theory of social cognition. This is where you can learn to think through situations that produce social cognition, such as whether or not something is actually factual. For instance, if you hear a politician say something like “you cannot make up your mind when it comes to abortion, you must choose one” – does anyone have to argue with that? No, because this is social cognition at work, and this means that everyone has the ability to determine whether or not something is fact or fiction. It is this ability, which is also reflected in the business world, which makes this kind of rumour management very important.