Gossip: The Scoop

Gossip: noun “Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true.” According to Oxford Dictionary’s definition of the word, there is no validity behind such statements. So why do we tend to take so much of what we hear at face value?

In the wake of breaking news, a sudden insatiable urge to find out more takes ahold of us. We turn into detectives: trying to uncover more information about what’s happening by gathering bits and pieces from what others around us are saying. Once we think we’ve compiled enough news to form a coherent story, we relay them to the next person and so on.

This perpetual cycle of spreading rumors is nothing new. It reassures us that we are in the loop of the social strata, gaining a sense of connection with our friends and classmates. Rumors are simply conversation starters — something we can bring up when there aren’t any other intellectually grounded subjects to take up on.

The issue with pervasive gossip is that they have no solid foundation. We pass them around by word of mouth and online because we find certain statements interesting; however, rarely do we ever stop to think about the impact of the rumor and its authenticity. These rumors have probably already been passed on multiple times, and this leaves much room for the information to become distorted.

Rumors create a false perception that we are aware of what is going on around us when in reality, we are becoming more ignorant. We immediately jump to conclusions and accept statements for what they are without hesitating to verify sources. Because the information is from people we trust, we’re more inclined to accept their validity. And we continue to circulate those stories because we want the satisfaction of revealing unknown information to another person. It fortifies our belief that we are updated within our social circles although that is not the case at all.  

Aside from our ___ to confirm __, there is also an absence of consideration for the people involved [on the other end?]. As teenagers, we have the capability to distinguish right from wrong. Many of us can identify a rumor when we encounter one, yet we choose to listen in and share it anyway. We disregard the potential harm we may be causing for them because we hold our personal interests at a higher level.

Completely eradicating the spread of gossip is impossible. As long as things happen, people will always talk. What we can do, however, is practice dubiety and learn to recognize rumors for what they are: rumors. By allowing ourselves to doubt what we hear, we won’t be so easily fooled by the fine line between true and false.  

By Sabrina Wan, Editor-in-chief
Editorial Cartoon by Irene Zhou