Rumors and Fake News as “Improvised” News

fake news GIFrose mcgowan rumor GIF

Rumors are often believed by people to flourish in an environment of news blackouts and information famines, and thus, assumed to them diminish in an era of information overload. But the opposite seems to be the case. In contemporary information society, rumors seem to arise not from lack of information, but from an information overload (Kimmel, 2004).

coding the matrix GIF

In today’s globalization age characterized by liquidity and flows, information has become “liquid” and can swiftly penetrate the various domains of social life (Ritzer, 2010). Liquidity is a metaphor used by some globalists to explain the growing flexibility and mobility of things that is brought about by the current processes of globalization.

information GIF

Liquidity simply means that things, information and places are increasingly becoming light and thus easy to move from one location to another. Like water, “liquids” can easily “flow” to different locations with the capacity to change their form in order to adapt to the environment.

phoebe buffay GIF

With today’s globalization and technological innovation, almost all things have become so fluid and light that they travel in various spaces in blinding speed. In a similar manner, news, “fake news,” “alternative facts,” e-rumors, e-gossip, and other forms of content now mounted on digital and electronic platforms in the cyberspace flow like running water or liquid that penetrates dimensions almost all dimensions of social life. Corporate organizations are not spared from this tsunami of information that besieges the market and the workplace.

speed communication GIF

As information is easily and freely created, traded, edited, and manipulated to suit one’s interests, the veracity of their content declines resulting in the difficulty to know which news are “real,” “fake,” or “improvised” such as rumors and gossip. With information overload and the constant bombardment of the mind with unverified information from the Internet, people are deprived of the luxury of time and immediate means to swiftly investigate whether the posts, news, or information they received from and passed on to other people are totally or partially true or false. This also happens during crisis or emergency situations when information is absent or lacking to ascertain the truth. Knowledge means control. In business settings, sufficient information is good for managers and the corporate organizations they handle to achieve higher productivity and profit.

the rain point GIF by The Rain Netflix

Rumors and gossip do not normally emerge in moments of certainty where the corporate organization runs smoothly, but usually during times of crisis and unexpected change in the day-to-day operations of the company. Thus, rumors usually abound when a business firm faces or experiences bankruptcy, leadership change, mergers, buyouts, financial losses, labor problems or restructuring.

reporting conspiracy theory GIF by Rewire.org

For instance, when Twitter faces a buyout by other firms, rumors spread like a wildfire. When news leaked that Twitter will be the takeover target of the giant companies in September 2016, whispers were immediately and spread in the cyberspace. News spread that the engine company Google (Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL, Tech30), would take over the company, pushing the stock value of Twitter to 20% rise. But since no immediate confirmation came from Google, more speculations arise.

twitter GIF

CNBC mentioned that the business software company Salesforce.com might also be looking to buy Twitter, but no clarification what benefits Twitter would bring to this transaction. Later, other rumors surfaced that Verizon (VZ, Tech30) might be bidding for Twitter as well, but Verizon denied the speculation. Since no accurate information to rely on of who would buy Twitter, the rumors continued.

twitter omg GIF

The Media companies News Corp (NWSA) and 21st Century Fox (FOXA) — both controlled by Rupert Murdoch — have been cited as possible Twitter acquirers too. So has NBC parent company Comcast (CMCSA) as well as the Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — who are two of Twitter’s largest shareholders — could team up to take the company private. Again, in the absence of certainty, more rumors surfaced saying that the influential Silicon Valley investors Marc Andreessen and Silver Lake Partners could team up to buy Twitter and so on (La Monica, 2016, 23 Sep).

This case of Twitter buyout shows that rumors can immediately spin and become uncontrollable if no convincing and reliable information is available.

reporting conspiracy theory GIF by Rewire.org

The sociologist Tomatsu Shibutani notes that rumors or other forms of unverified information or “fake news” arise from uncertainty, from the absence of context and concrete information by which those affected by a crisis may understand its significance:

has the perfect guy GIF

“When activity is interrupted for want of adequate information, frustrated [people] must piece together some kind of definition, and rumor is the collective transaction through which they try to fill this gap. Far from being pathological, rumor is part and parcel of the efforts of [people] to come to terms with the exigencies of life (Doorley & Garcia, 2007).”

fix this star wars GIF by Hyper RPG

Thus, rumors  for Shibutani are “improvised news,” a tentative information created by people who are affected by uncertainty in order to gain control and to make sense of ambiguous situations or crises.

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

Thank you for reading this post. subscribe or follow this blog for more updates.

About the Author:

Dr. Vivencio (Ven) O. Ballano is Associate Professor V of the Sociology Department of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Manila. In 2011, he obtained his doctoral degree in Sociology from the Ateneo de Manila University. He was chosen Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of the Southeast Asian Studies Research Exchange Program (SEASREP). He is the author of the book Sociological Perspectives on Media Piracy in the Philippines and Vietnam published by Springer Singapore in 2016. Dr. Ballano’s specialized areas of teaching and research include sociology of law, religion, disaster management, corporate organization, and the Catholic Social Teaching. His current projects and interests include writing monographs and articles on rumors and gossip in corporate settings and the Catholic Social Teaching, as well as doing sociological research on film piracy and illegal camcording in the Philippines.

Continue reading “Rumors and Fake News as “Improvised” News”

6 Weirdest Love Stories and Marriages Ever Told

weddings GIF

The Bible and the Church teach that marriage is sacred and a union between a man and a woman. Ephesians 5:25 says:

“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” … He who loves his wife loves himself.”

Despite this Biblical teaching, people with different cultural orientations prefer to marry their bride and groom according to their personal taste and cultural preference. The following are among the weirdest love stories and marriages ever told:

1. A Lady who Fell in Love with a Wall and Married it

Eija-Ritta Berliner-Mauer

“Eija-Ritta was only 7 when she saw the Berlin Wall for the first time on television and she felt head-over-heels when she saw the wall. Eija developed a fetish for inanimate objects and married the concrete structure in 1979. Her surname also means Berlin Wall in German and when the structure was brought down in 1989 she was in tears and said ,”What they did was awful. They mutilated my husband.”

“In an interview in The Telegraph she admitted that she felt some attraction for The Great Wall of China, but in 2008 her affection was beginning to shift towards a nearby garden fence” (Campobasso, 2018).

Eija-Ritta was later diagnosed with a condition called Objectum-Sexuality. Though she remained virgin as a human, she insists she has a full, loving relationship with the wall for having married the structure for more than 29 years now” (Giri).

2. A Man who Wedded a Video Game Character

love kiss GIF

“In 2009 a Japanese otaku (a rabid fan of Japanese manga, anime and video games) found the love of his life in a handheld DS game. The man, known only by his gamer tag ‘SAL9000’ later went on to arrange an extravagant wedding ceremony with his pixelated wife-to-be, Nene Anegasaki from the Japanese dating simulation game Love Plus. Following their their honeymoon in Guam, SAL9000 admitted that he was somewhat nervous about introducing Nene to his family. Though SAL9000 may be the first to publicly announce his love for a video game character, he’s not the only one as others have also found their relationships with dating simulators as becoming increasingly real and serious” (Campobasso).

3. A Man who Married and Kissed His Dead Girlfriend

Chadil Deffy and Sarinya Kamsook

“Chadil Deffy and Sarinya Kamsook had plans to get married soon after Deffy completed his studies. But his life was devastated after he learned the news of Sarinya’s death in an accident even before the two finalized a date to tie the knot. But death could not beat his love. Deffy married his deceased girlfriend in a combination funeral and wedding ceremony where he placed a ring on Sarinya’s hand, his girlfriend of 10 years and kissed her in a ceremony in Thailand’s Surin province” (Giri).

4. A Woman Who Married Her Own Self

married GIF

The “39-year old Liu Ye reportedly chose to marry a life-size photograph of himself, wearing a red bridal gown, in the village square in Guanzhou, China at a ceremony in front of bewildered wedding guests and onlookers in 2007. Ye said that what led him to his decision to marry himself was a general “dissatisfaction with reality” and being “a little bit narcissistic”. Despite the bride being a photograph of the groom dressed in drag, the wedding is said to have otherwise followed standard Chinese customs and traditions” (Campobasso, 2018).

5. A Man who Married a Pineapple

pineapple no GIF

“Around 44 years ago Ulli Hopper, also known as the German popstar ‘Ramma Damma’ traveled to Gretna Green, a village on the Scottish border, in a Jaguar covered in AstroTurf. While he was there he claims to have taken his love for plants to the next level by proposing to a pineapple that he had bought from a fruit vendor for around £8.

Hopper told Metro Magazine that he named the pineapple ‘Tippi’ and that the two were married to each other by a craftsman wearing a kilt before traveling back home to Munich. According to Hopper it was a “fun away wedding”.

Despite the unconventional relationship between a human and a tropical fruit, the two lovers engaged in wholesome activities, like going to the cinemas. Hopper said that Tippi particularly enjoyed movies featuring earthquakes and when she got scared she sat in Hopper’s lap. They also enjoyed going to restaurants where Tippi the Pineapple enjoyed a glass of water over dinner” (Campobasso, 2018).

6. A Woman Who Married a Cobra

snake charmer GIF

in India, a 30-year old woman fell in love with and married a cobra in a traditional Hindu wedding in 2006 before 2,000 guests. According to the bride’s mother, the woman had previously been very sick and was only cured after offering milk to the snake.

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

References

Campobasso, P. (7 March 2018). The World’s Most Bizarre Relationships and Love Stories (with Non-Humans). Retrieved from https://pairedlife.com/misc/The-Worlds-Strangest-Relationships-and-Love-Stories-with-Non-Humans.

Giri, G. (n.d.). “10 Crazy Real Life Love Stories To Warm Your Heart”. Lifehack. Retrieved from https://www.lifehack.org/355978/10-crazy-real-life-love-stories-warm-your-heart.

Wales, G. (21 April 2011). “30 Weirdest Love Stories”. Gamesradar. Retrieved from https://www.gamesradar.com/30-weirdest-love-stories/.

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Does Age Matter in a Romantic Relationship?

40D91FDF00000578-4545608-image-a-11_1495882036642

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter” (Mark Twain).

INTRODUCTION

The saying that “Age doesn’t matter” is a popular expression among people for those who fall in love with a wide age gap. They say that love is blind. So, it’s okay to be blinded by the age of one’s crush or lover. Experts on romantic love acknowledge that falling in love is indeed a strong positive energy that makes a person less aware of the consequences of having a big age gap in romantic relationship. One can be so enamored with the other person’s beauty, popularity, personality, social status, or wealth, that he or she forgets that the other person is either too old or too young for him/her! I already encountered some people who fell in love or even got married despite a wide age difference. When I was a boy, our 20-year old nanny was having a secret love affair with our 60-year old neighbor who was a widower with married children. It was indeed embarrassing during their wedding ceremony as the officiating priest had mistaken the groom as the parent of the bride and one of the young best men as the groom! Despite the age gap, they manage to have 3 children before the old man died.

AGE AS A SOCIAL NORM IN SOCIETY

Age really does matter in relationship despite romanticism of some people that it doesn’t affect romantic relationships. In sociology, age is an informal and unwritten social norm. Society has some standards on what age bracket is appropriate for a particular type of relationship, depending on the local culture. Whether one likes it or not, society has a way of classifying people engaging a particular type of social interaction. Defying this informal norm in a romantic relationship can lead to unintended informal and psychological sanction from the public, such as ridicule, suspicion, rumor, gossip, digital bashing in the social media, or even public shaming by people who strongly oppose the relationship. Try to hold hands and show romantic affection with an older man or woman while walking in a public park and you’ll never miss seeing people whispering or giggling in disbelief, or staring at you as if something is terribly wrong, especially when you’re in a rural setting! Generally, women like their men to be a little older and more experienced and mature in life. But if the age gap is quite wide, many people would probably start to think that it is not romantic love or true love that motivates the attraction but something else, maybe the wealth of the older partner.

Age as informal norm in society is not, however, an absolute rule! One can see couples with a big age difference. Among the Hollywood celebrities, the famous actor Michael Douglas and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones were married despite their age difference. These Oscar winners tied their knot in 2000, when Catherine was 31 years old and Michael was 56.

'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' Premiere

Michael, 56 years old, with wife Catherine, 31 (Photo credit: hollywood.com)

In the Philippines, the famous folk singer Freddie Aguilar fell in love with a 16-year old girl and managed to marry her in Islamic rites. Under the Shariah law, a 16-year old can contract a valid marriage but not under the current 1987 Family Code of the country for Christians. Apparently both decided to change religion to tie the knot.

aguilar

Freddie, 60 years old, with his 16-year old wife (Photo credit: Poklat.com)

Another famous noontime TV host and comedian married a younger woman more than twice his age. The 61-year old veteran Filipino comedian Vic Sotto married the 27-year old TV host Pauleen Luna in a private wedding.

sotto

Pauleen Luna, 27 years old and Vic Sotto, 61 (Photo Credit: gmanetwork.com)

If it is not an arranged marriage sanctioned by culture, people can be suspicious of the motive if they see romantic couples with a wide age gap. They often suspect wealth and/or social status as the main motive why the younger partner “falls in love” with the older guy. This suspicion can have a grain of truth. Normally, people are first attracted to others through their physicality. People project and communicate to the world though their bodies. Appearance matters during the initial encounter of partners in romantic love. Many surveys showed that the person’s eyes as the sexiest or most attractive body part during infatuation. They say that the eyes is the window of the person’s soul. The woman’s big breasts and butts associated with femininity and fertility are also attractive to men, while a tall height, a flat and strong abdomen and chest are attractive physical traits for women. But old people generally cannot boast their physical assets to attract younger people to enter into a romantic relationship with them. Thus, people become cynical of seeing a young and old couple romantically linked with each other.

Physicality, however, can take a backseat if the young and old partners become intimate and learn more about the cultural or non-physical aspects of the relationship such as knowing the other’s attitude, personality, social status, and value system. So people can be suspicious if a poor young woman falls in love with an old rich man as the latter’s youthful physicality has already been deteriorated by age. If he is not extremely handsome and sexy despite his age, it is understandable for them to conclude that it is not the physical appearance but probably the person’s wealth and social status that motivate her to love the other. Age then matters in discerning whether the relationship is truly a romantic love that can lead to marital love or just what the sociologist Anthony Giddens calls as “confluent love” or a contingent form of love without commitment, a love that is based on mutual and temporal satisfaction of the romantic partners–“enjoying the relationship while it lasts.”

In the next blog, we’ll discuss why a wide age gap can be a problem in the interaction and adjustment of the couple as they stay longer in the romantic relationship and marriage. This will also show that age matters in romantic or marital interaction! Cheers!

 

 

Has social media destroyed the very fabric of how society works?

happy social media GIF by Yevbel

The growth of social media is part of the growing digitalization or “technologisation” of social life. Due to globalization and growth of the cyberspace, social interaction is now extended from the temporal or physical space to the cyberspace, from face-to-face interaction to digital interaction through chat, post, video chat, etc.

social media GIF by RealityTVGIFs

Has social media destroyed the very fabric of society?

jumping social media GIF

Well, it depends on one’s perspective in judging the effects of social media to society. A conflict theory would probably see the birth of the social media as the “colonization” and— yes, the destruction of the current face-to-face or personal interaction. But a functionalist perspective may see it as playing a major function of integrating and connecting people into a small social network or global village.

social media likes GIF by bubly

The social media can easily connect people from distant lands in a matter of seconds by using the Internet and online networks. This is not possible in the temporal or physical space. Moreover, the social media plays a crucial role in doing business and marketing of goods and services worldwide. Nowadays, business opportunities are done more and more in the cyberspace and social media rather than in the temporal space. Physical stores, for instance, are now gradually being replaced by the cost-efficient online stores. Hiring is also now being done online via the social media LinkedIn and other sites, rather than through the walk-in application process.

social media internet GIF by Geek & Sundry

The social media has also challenged the traditional media, such as the print, TV, and broadcast media, because of its interactive nature. Yes, the social media has radically altered the way people communicate and transact business around the globe. But has it destroyed how society works today?

despicable me minions GIF

Well, I would rather see it as expanding and improving the very fabric of society rather than destroying it. Under this process, the old practices are gradually replaced by new ones, and in this sense social media can be considered “destructive”. But in every process of social change, one can’t avoid discarding the old methods by novel ones.

social media facebook GIF

As the Bible says: “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins” (Mark 2:22).

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

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Rumors and Fake News as “Improvised” News

 

fake news GIFrose mcgowan rumor GIF

Rumors are often believed by people to flourish in an environment of news blackouts and information famines, and thus, assumed to them diminish in an era of information overload. But the opposite seems to be the case. In contemporary information society, rumors seem to arise not from lack of information, but from an information overload (Kimmel, 2004).

coding the matrix GIF

In today’s globalization age characterized by liquidity and flows, information has become “liquid” and can swiftly penetrate the various domains of social life (Ritzer, 2010). Liquidity is a metaphor used by some globalists to explain the growing flexibility and mobility of things that is brought about by the current processes of globalization.

information GIF

Liquidity simply means that things, information and places are increasingly becoming light and thus easy to move from one location to another. Like water, “liquids” can easily “flow” to different locations with the capacity to change their form in order to adapt to the environment.

phoebe buffay GIF

With today’s globalization and technological innovation, almost all things have become so fluid and light that they travel in various spaces in blinding speed. In a similar manner, news, “fake news,” “alternative facts,” e-rumors, e-gossip, and other forms of content now mounted on digital and electronic platforms in the cyberspace flow like running water or liquid that penetrates dimensions almost all dimensions of social life. Corporate organizations are not spared from this tsunami of information that besieges the market and the workplace.

speed communication GIF

As information is easily and freely created, traded, edited, and manipulated to suit one’s interests, the veracity of their content declines resulting in the difficulty to know which news are “real,” “fake,” or “improvised” such as rumors and gossip. With information overload and the constant bombardment of the mind with unverified information from the Internet, people are deprived of the luxury of time and immediate means to swiftly investigate whether the posts, news, or information they received from and passed on to other people are totally or partially true or false. This also happens during crisis or emergency situations when information is absent or lacking to ascertain the truth. Knowledge means control. In business settings, sufficient information is good for managers and the corporate organizations they handle to achieve higher productivity and profit.

the rain point GIF by The Rain Netflix

Rumors and gossip do not normally emerge in moments of certainty where the corporate organization runs smoothly, but usually during times of crisis and unexpected change in the day-to-day operations of the company. Thus, rumors usually abound when a business firm faces or experiences bankruptcy, leadership change, mergers, buyouts, financial losses, labor problems or restructuring.

reporting conspiracy theory GIF by Rewire.org

For instance, when Twitter faces a buyout by other firms, rumors spread like a wildfire. When news leaked that Twitter will be the takeover target of the giant companies in September 2016, whispers were immediately and spread in the cyberspace. News spread that the engine company Google (Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL, Tech30), would take over the company, pushing the stock value of Twitter to 20% rise. But since no immediate confirmation came from Google, more speculations arise.

twitter GIF

CNBC mentioned that the business software company Salesforce.com might also be looking to buy Twitter, but no clarification what benefits Twitter would bring to this transaction. Later, other rumors surfaced that Verizon (VZ, Tech30) might be bidding for Twitter as well, but Verizon denied the speculation. Since no accurate information to rely on of who would buy Twitter, the rumors continued.

twitter omg GIF

The Media companies News Corp (NWSA) and 21st Century Fox (FOXA) — both controlled by Rupert Murdoch — have been cited as possible Twitter acquirers too. So has NBC parent company Comcast (CMCSA) as well as the Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — who are two of Twitter’s largest shareholders — could team up to take the company private. Again, in the absence of certainty, more rumors surfaced saying that the influential Silicon Valley investors Marc Andreessen and Silver Lake Partners could team up to buy Twitter and so on (La Monica, 2016, 23 Sep).

This case of Twitter buyout shows that rumors can immediately spin and become uncontrollable if no convincing and reliable information is available.

reporting conspiracy theory GIF by Rewire.org

The sociologist Tomatsu Shibutani notes that rumors or other forms of unverified information or “fake news” arise from uncertainty, from the absence of context and concrete information by which those affected by a crisis may understand its significance:

 

has the perfect guy GIF

“When activity is interrupted for want of adequate information, frustrated [people] must piece together some kind of definition, and rumor is the collective transaction through which they try to fill this gap. Far from being pathological, rumor is part and parcel of the efforts of [people] to come to terms with the exigencies of life (Doorley & Garcia, 2007).”

fix this star wars GIF by Hyper RPG

Thus, rumors  for Shibutani are “improvised news,” a tentative information created by people who are affected by uncertainty in order to gain control and to make sense of ambiguous situations or crises.

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

Thank you for reading this post. subscribe or follow this blog for more updates.

 

About the Author:

Dr. Vivencio (Ven) O. Ballano is Associate Professor V of the Sociology Department of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Manila. In 2011, he obtained his doctoral degree in Sociology from the Ateneo de Manila University. He was chosen Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of the Southeast Asian Studies Research Exchange Program (SEASREP). He is the author of the book Sociological Perspectives on Media Piracy in the Philippines and Vietnam published by Springer Singapore in 2016. Dr. Ballano’s specialized areas of teaching and research include sociology of law, religion, disaster management, corporate organization, and the Catholic Social Teaching. His current projects and interests include writing monographs and articles on rumors and gossip in corporate settings and the Catholic Social Teaching, as well as doing sociological research on film piracy and illegal camcording in the Philippines.

Continue reading “Rumors and Fake News as “Improvised” News”