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”

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”

Dealing with Rumor-mongers and Gossips in a Christian Way

ID-10067259

Web Hosting

The best way to minimize rumors and gossip in your life is to turn your enemies into friends and allies. Take a look at this testimony of a person who turned his enemy into a friend:

pexels-photo-327540.jpeg

“Early in my career, I was once figuratively stabbed in the back by a colleague, which nearly led to me being fired…Rather than waste time and energy by dragging around a bag of resentments, I worked on my negative attitude…Whenever we ran into each other, I would smile and say “Hello, how are you?” I was met with a scowl or ignored. This continued for three months, but I was determined not to let the person ruin my day. I no longer wanted to give away my power. Then, suddenly, my adversary had a change in attitude, and became a trusted associate.”

pexels-photo-601170.jpeg

Try active non-violence and apply the biblical teaching of loving your enemies. It is not a sign of weakness and cowardice of trying to win the hearts of your gossips and rumor mongers. If you believe in something supernatural and have a solid philosophy in life, loving your enemies is a sign of courage and ultimate wisdom. After all, we are only pilgrims of this earth. Let us condemn and sue those who spread unjust and malicious acts of rumors and gossip. Let us condemn the acts but forgive the person as every individual can also be a victim of his/her past and social environment.

pexels-photo-551652.jpeg

In the Gospel,  an adulterer and sinner was brought in front of Jesus. Some people wanted to trap him in order to accuse Him of violating the Judaic law. But Jesus instead said to the accusers:

jesus-christ-good-shepherd-religion-161289.png

“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.”

The  people around him were so touched by their own consciences that they departed. So Jesus found himself alone with the woman. He asked her where were her accusers.

She replied, “No man, lord.”

Jesus then said, “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.”

pexels-photo-786924.jpeg

The best way to fight rumors and gossip is to accept and forgive people despite their sins of spreading unverified information or fake news. Applying the Christian teaching of fraternal correction, genuine Christians approach rumor-mongers and gossips in the spirit of charity. They reach out to their enemies and convert them into friends. Christian love unites people and transform them into real believers of the Truth.

Photo credit: Pexels.com free photos, Freedigitalphotos.net

Thank you for reading this post. Feel free to comment, like, or share. Cheers and God bless!

 

 

 

Leadership in the Social Media: The Sociology of Followers

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To Expand or Not to Expand Connections

Users of social media often face the perennial issue of whether to add too many followers and connections or just maintain a few close business and professional connections in their accounts. On LinkedIn, your direct connections are also your followers. LinkedIn users with numerous connections and followers are usually honored by the network as thought leaders and influencers. On Facebook, your followers are your friends. On Twitter and other social media sites, your followers are those who follow you regardless of whether you follow them back or not. But aside from posting quality articles to attract many followers, there is no other effective way to expand one’s network except to send or accept invites. But how can one becomes an influencer if s/he is encouraged to just remain closely connected with his/her limited number of connections (around 500 on LinkedIn), discouraged to connect with the unfamiliar others or become open networkers (LIONs) or to go beyond the maximum limit of connections and friends? (e.g. 30,000 on LinkedIn or 5,000 friends on Facebook). Which is which: to limit one’s connections to maintain intimacy within the social network and to limit his/her social influence? Or expand one’s network to expand his/her social influence and to lessen his/her group intimacy in the network?

The Dilemma

Users face a dilemma with regard to the ideal number of connections and followers in the social media. To gain too many connections and followers implies lesser time for the user to interact closely with each member the social network: The higher is the number of followers, the lesser is his/her available time to spend quality time with all of them in the social network. But If the user does not accept too many connections and followers, especially those who are unfamiliar or strangers to him/her in order to maintain a strong bonding in the network, s/he limits his/her range of social influence and possibility to connect with the right people who might help him/her in his/her business or professional career. Thus, a recruiter who connects only with people whom s/he personally knows in real or digital life is incapacitated to meet new people and connect with the right applicants who can fill up his/her wanted list. Moreover, a limited number of connections, friends or followers in the social media implies low social impact which can make one’s profile less attractive to people and to the business world.

The Sociological Significance of Connections and Followers

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There is a sociological basis why having many connections and followers is desirable than having only a few. There is a grain of truth to the idea that the number of followers or connection is the user’s “social” net worth in the social media and status scale. Sir Richard Branson who has more than 6 million followers on LinkedIn is obviously has a higher social net worth than anyone else in the world’s largest professional and business social networking site. Please take note that we are talking here of “social” not economic or monetary net worth which is the main criteria being used in identifying the richest people in the world. Some top influencers such as Branson or Gates, possess both a high social class (wealth) and social status (prestige). But there are others who are not be very rich and yet very high in social status because of their unique skills, level of achievement and high number of connections and followers in the social media Thus, a user with only 100 connections is obviously lesser in social status compared to somebody with 5,000 followers or more. The indicator of social class is primarily wealth, property and monetary net worth while social status is the person’s credential and level of prestige. In social media especially in LinkedIn where every user is presumed to belong to the middle or upper social classes, social status based on the user’s prestige (as reflected in the profile), popularity and number of connection and followers can be a strong differentiating factor among social media users.

The Power of Connection and Followers

The power of having more connections and followers can be felt directly by the user through the power of his/her invites: The higher is his/her number connections and followers, the more powerful is his/her invites in the social media. The acceptance rate of his/her invites is directly correlated with his/her number of connections and followers: the higher is the number of followers, the higher is the rate of acceptance of the invites. Having more followers and connections can also have a bandwagon effect: Who can resist connecting with popular accounts in case they invite you? Can you turn down an invitation, for instance, if Richard Branson, President Obama, Guy Kawasaki or other influencers ask you to connect on LinkedIn? Being connected with someone with a big following has an advantage to the one who is invited. If that person mentions you in their posts and updates or likes or comments in your posts or updates, his/her thousands of followers can view them and see your profile picture and headline as well, thus expanding your personal brand.

Resolving the Dilemma: Maintain Bonding with Close Friends/Connections but Expand Network

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There is a third way to resolve the dilemma of whether to gain more followers or not:in the social media: Maintain and expand gradually one’s small group of intimate connections within one’s social network but continue to expand the number of connections and followers to increase social status and influence. Sociologically speaking, it is humanly impossible to maintain intimacy if one’s group or network is huge. In real life, when a person’s primary group increases in membership and becomes a secondary group, his/her personal bonding and intimacy with it declines, but his/her social status and influence in society climbs. And this is also true in online interaction in the social media.The increase of membership in a social network can decrease the level of intimacy between the user and all his/her followers. But it has an advantage. It also increases his/her social influence and marketability in the digital economy.

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In sum, there is really no serious problem between maintaining social bonding with a few close connections and expanding one’s social network in the social media. Indeed, life, whether real or virtual, is full of contradictions and paradoxes; one just needs to be creative, empirical and innovative in his/her journey in the world of the social media!

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

Thank you for reading this post. Subscribe or follow this blog via email to receive more updates.

Dealing with Rumor-mongers and Gossips in a Christian Way

ID-10067259

Web Hosting

The best way to minimize rumors and gossip in your life is to turn your enemies into friends and allies. Take a look at this testimony of a person who turned his enemy into a friend:

pexels-photo-327540.jpeg

“Early in my career, I was once figuratively stabbed in the back by a colleague, which nearly led to me being fired…Rather than waste time and energy by dragging around a bag of resentments, I worked on my negative attitude…Whenever we ran into each other, I would smile and say “Hello, how are you?” I was met with a scowl or ignored. This continued for three months, but I was determined not to let the person ruin my day. I no longer wanted to give away my power. Then, suddenly, my adversary had a change in attitude, and became a trusted associate.”

pexels-photo-601170.jpeg

Try active non-violence and apply the biblical teaching of loving your enemies. It is not a sign of weakness and cowardice of trying to win the hearts of your gossips and rumor mongers. If you believe in something supernatural and have a solid philosophy in life, loving your enemies is a sign of courage and ultimate wisdom. After all, we are only pilgrims of this earth. Let us condemn and sue those who spread unjust and malicious acts of rumors and gossip. Let us condemn the acts but forgive the person as every individual can also be a victim of his/her past and social environment.

pexels-photo-551652.jpeg

In the Gospel,  an adulterer and sinner was brought in front of Jesus. Some people wanted to trap him in order to accuse Him of violating the Judaic law. But Jesus instead said to the accusers:

jesus-christ-good-shepherd-religion-161289.png

“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.”

The  people around him were so touched by their own consciences that they departed. So Jesus found himself alone with the woman. He asked her where were her accusers.

She replied, “No man, lord.”

Jesus then said, “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.”

pexels-photo-786924.jpeg

The best way to fight rumors and gossip is to accept and forgive people despite their sins of spreading unverified information or fake news. Applying the Christian teaching of fraternal correction, genuine Christians approach rumor-mongers and gossips in the spirit of charity. They reach out to their enemies and convert them into friends. Christian love unites people and transform them into real believers of the Truth.

Photo credit: Pexels.com free photos, Freedigitalphotos.net

Thank you for reading this post. Feel free to comment, like, or share. Cheers and God bless!