The evolving face of gossiping
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - November 16, 2019 - 12:00am

Recently, and quite interestingly, I heard reports of people who have been arrested for alleged case of cyber libel. And what’s more interesting is that this involves just plain housewives and perhaps there were also reported cases involving other professions like journalists or bloggers, as this has something to do with the nature of their work. For the latter, I have nothing against letting their readers know what their stand is on certain issues that affect a certain group of people, much more the general public. When one is offering views, options, and alternatives for the solution of a given problem or issue, then this makes sense. However sometimes it goes beyond, meaning attacking personalities, to the point of going down to the personal level by attacking the physical characteristics of the other party.

Such effect using this medium is fast and long lasting, especially when shared many times and those who have no idea about the concern are even quick to render impartial judgments. This portrays those compromised in a disadvantaged part.

In the workplace, for instance, as common it is, in a form of office gossip it kills the work culture of an organization. It spreads like wildfire, and sometimes causes irreparable damage to one’s reputation.

Not everyone takes things as sportingly as we might take them. Gossip can hurt big time, especially if it is spread in the wrong spirit. It could be around anything, personal or professional life, but it could end up turning into something that can blemish the reputation of not just the person who is part of the rumor, but also the person spreading it as well. People might seem to be interested in gossiping around with you, but in the long run they are always going to be cautious talking around you.

Through the messenger or any other social media platforms, in just a few seconds one can convene a virtual chat group to start a conversation which is mainly to discredit somebody. And depending on the loyalty of the members, such private group chatting activity would last for as long as they live and keep the secret. This to the great disadvantage of the one being talked about, continuing such fake interaction to the one without him or her knowing that his name and reputation is as rotten as a tomato as there is no way to counter.

In a not-so-distant past, it took a while for one to visit or meet in a certain actual, physical place to actualize the plan of gossiping. In rural areas, for instance, such physical encounter has been replaced also because of the availability of mobile phones. Only in special occasions where deliberate gossiping takes place. And expect that whoever is absent in such an occasion, he or she would become the topic.

The feeling that one is better than the one being talked about or a way of getting even, or just a plain jealousy for what one has or done. In social media, posting malicious tweets or messages out of pure hate and lust for vengeance so as to darken one’s reputation and competence. It can also be a way to downplay one’s weaknesses and inadequacies and so projecting these on others. The entire process hurts both parties.

Such culturally rooted phenomenon can hardly be eliminated. As society develops, the practice of gossiping evolves as well. Yes, it just takes a different face as technology paves the way, so quick and damaging.

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