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[ba-ohs-talk] Questions about gossip/listening

Gretchen,    (01)

First, it helps to tell folks what you saw in the record that led you
to make contact.  Understanding this background provides context for
addressing your objective.     (02)

The essence of your inquiry seems to come from your question....    (03)

> Why are certain cultures or people attracted to [gossip]... as 
> is written in the tabloids and talked about on TV and Internet 
> and radio??    (04)

Gossip, per se, is beyond my scope, but I would offer an observation
that might lead to a helpful direction for your research.      (05)

Communication is a core survival strategy of humans, i.e., the 8th and
9th wonders of the world, as shown in recent analysis on the 7 wonders
of the world....    (06)

http://www.welchco.com/03/00050/61/02/01/1701.HTM#0001    (07)

...which hopefully one day will lead to the 10th wonder of the world
as we move from information to a culture of knowledge....    (08)

http://www.welchco.com/03/00050/61/02/01/1701.HTM#02GS    (09)

Gossip at one level can be largely entertainment, as discussed on
991108 reviewing the history of literacy....    (010)

http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/99/11/08/191947.HTM#4505    (011)

But even our entertainments typically have a survival component at
some level, and it seems to that gossip fits this model, e.g., playing
at games is training for actual battle.    (012)

As explained in POIMS, communication is a means to send and receive
signals that impact survival by building and continually testing
relationships and coalitions that maintain positive relations and
secure the safety of numbers for protection and advancement.  See for
example an explanation of Knowledge Management as creating fantastic
social relationships....    (013)

http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/01/01/14/211125.HTM#EK3I      (014)

In other words, a large part of communication is not for getting
things done, nor for idle entertainment, but to test and secure
relationships essential to survive...    (015)

http://www.welchco.com/03/00050/01/09/01/02/00030.HTM#5106    (016)

Another benefit of "gossip" is that it enables people to pass along
and obtain stories that can be tested against one's own life
experience without incurring the cost and risk of acquiring the actual
experience.  Jeremy Campbell talks about the human brain thinking
through stories, reviewed on 900303....    (017)

http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/90/03/03/221844.HTM#3016    (018)

Gossip enables people to expand their awareness of stories and
scenarios for testing possible risks of outcomes for similar
circumstances in their own life. In other words, the desire for
survival, and recognition requires being savvy and street smart, and
this comes not from books, but from actual experience of real people. 
Even the accuracy of the story is not essential, but rather the
correlation with life patterns that people can recognize as potential
risks and opportunities bring value by enabling people to work out in
advance strategies for response, if, and when, such circumstances are
directly confronted.    (019)

Gossip then fills important needs for entertainment, building, testing
and maintaining relationships, and for learning about real-life
scenarios and outcomes that suggest coping strategies in advance of
encountering similar issues.      (020)

I am sure there are better explanations, but these are some ideas that
may lead to interesting research on why people engage in gossip.    (021)

Good luck with your project.  Keep us posted on results.    (022)

Rod    (023)

PS.  By copy am notifying a research group looking into creating tools
for a knowledge repository.  Some aspects of gossip fit the model of a
DKR, and so may yield additional support for your project.    (024)

************    (025)

gretchen wrote:
> I stumbled upon your "diary" while desperately researching aspects of
> listening and gossip.  I am working in a task group for a class at
> Rochester Institute of Technology in Small Group communications.  It's a
> short summer class, but we are to research a concept. Our group chose
> listening and gossip/rumor.  IS there anything you can contribute?  I'm
> specifically looking for info on why gossip is valuable.  Or perhaps the
> origin of the form of communication.  Why are certain cultures or people
> attracted to such stuff as is written in the tabloids and talked about
> on TV and Internet and radio??
> Thanks much
> Gretchen    (026)