Rumors have existed from time immemorial. A day cannot go by before one hears a rumor about his or her neighbor or the politicians and celebrities among other famous people in the society. Certain sections of people make up rumors and ensure that they spread for their benefit or the benefit of the society. Most rumors at present usually come from the internet through social sites and the television. The rumor may be true of a false story regarding a particular event or subject. People may have heard from others stories that may or may not be true and then spread them to the next person, and the cycle continues (Kapferer, 2013). Therefore, many people can get a certain message, which they have not proven to be true and spread it without noting the repercussions on the person in question. Rumors may lead to unrest especially if false information is spread during sensitive times especially elections. The digital age has fueled the spread of rumors more quickly than before (Doerr & Friedrich, 2012). The use of smartphones is ever increasing, as more people get accustomed to the various social media sites together with other messaging platforms like WhatsApp among others. Rumors are mostly damaging to particular people involved. Good rumors may lead to a certain amount of peace particularly when the rumor is true or is intended to quell tensions. Rumors should, therefore, be viewed with a lot of caution to prevent any misinformation being taken in by individuals..
Various rumors have been posted on the internet of late, and they have usually involved high profile people. In the ancient times when there was no internet, a rumor could hardly live the vicinity to reach others areas especially cities. The rumor was mostly confined to the environs of a certain area, and thus, only the locals could know about the rumor especially through meetings. In those times, the society had telephones, which were mostly owned by the rich. The society then could only succeed in spreading rumors by either on the phone or face-to-face conversation. From the above assertion we note that the distance of spreading the rumor was very small. At present, the society has adopted the internet for almost all communications. The various social platforms using the internet and where many people are connecting the social media sites. More people than ever before are connected through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Yahoo and many other social sites that include tailor made sites for institutions of learning, companies to name a few (Gianturco, 2012). Therefore, the addition of many people on one platform ensures that many people note any rumor or unproven story about an event. In the past, one could hear a rumor and try to tell people who would tell the next person when they meet or on the phone. The spread of the rumor was thus very slow. At present, a rumor can spread very fast. Therefore, the digital platforms especially social media sites have brought about a revolution in which a rumor can take much speed and be viewed by millions of people throughout the world in a minute (Rojecki & Meraz, 2016). The internet enables people to be connected through their smartphones and personal computers, and they get to view the trending news together with any rumors on the social platforms. The world, therefore, has been made a global meeting place by the digital platforms and the different technologies that involve the social media platform.
Rumors can cause great havoc especially if they concern a person who is held in high esteem by the society. A pre-internet rumor involved a bond film where the dial Mail ran a story about the possibility of inclusion of Finley light as James Bond in 1986. Another pre-internet rumor was Abe Vigoda had died though he was alive and well at the time. The rumor persisted for almost two decades sicne1982. The rumors during the pre-internet time should only spread quickly through print media especially if the person were a celebrity or famous. Therefore, some people may come up with stories from inadequate sources may be because one has not been seen in the public for a long time.
Such rumors can destroy the image of the person, and since people believe what they hear, they may end up holding to an untrue rumor to be true. Rumors tend to fuel and fan curiosity in the hearer (Starbird et al., 2014). People usually want to know something about the celebrities or politicians and may cling to a certain formation that may be untrue. Certain modern day rumors are that a certain girl got aids from swimming in a certain pool. Thousands of people have swum in many public pools, and there has not been a report that has proved the AIDs story to be true. Elections mostly have many rumors, and many rumors were spread about Obama being an illegitimately united states citizen though his state constantly proved that he was legitimate. such negative insintuations can have adverse political impacts on the candidate in question (Weeks & Garrett, 2014). Therefore, rumors, in this case, tend to point out various factors that affect a certain part of the population who may not be popular with a certain person. Other rumors during the election period were that Sarah Palin, who held and treasured family values in her campaigns, had a daughter who was pregnant, yet she had not wed.
Voters should do their homework to ensure that they get to the root of the matter especially where politics is involved. One erroneous article can ruin the aspirations of candidates in the political arena. Since more people than ever before are connected to the news sites through the internet and cable television, any rumor can spell disastrous results. Therefore, voters should be advised not to take the rumors seriously until they are proven. On the other hand, consumers should focus on getting information from the respective stores to ensure that some companies or rumors from outside the companies are validated before taken as truth. To prevent rumors people have to make sure that whatever gets to their ears is proven first before it is taken as the truth.
There is a thin line between false and genuine information on something or someone. Rumors have long been used for ruinous purposes especially in politics. Since most people are curious about getting certain information, they will tend to believe what they hear especially if it regards people of high status in society. The society should thus focus on the getting clear information on a matter before taking spreading it to another person. At present, there are many sources of information some of which are not credible. It is important for people to investigate the various stories and find out if they are true to ensure that wrong information about people is not spread in form of rumors.
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