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Why do we gossip?

Gossip helps police bad behavior in a social network and relieves stress.

About 15% of office emails are gossip:

According to some estimates, the average corporate email user sends 112 emails every day. About one out of every seven of those messages, says a new study from Georgia Tech, can be called gossip.

Negative gossip is nearly 3 times as prevalent:

Still, another finding was that “negative” gossip, characterized through a Natural Language Text Processing analysis, was in fact 2.7 times more prevalent than positive gossip, though a significant portion of the messages were sentiment-neutral.

Around 80% of office gossip is true:

The grapevine’s communication does not really concentrate on gossip regarding individuals; about 80% of it pertains to business-related politics. It is also interesting to note that 70-90% of a message’s details are usually correct.

The way employees gossip about a company can predict its success or failure. Via The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us:

And be very concerned if an organization’s employees start calling it “the company” or, worse, “that company” and referring to their co-workers as “they.” They-companies can be nightmares because workers are proclaiming that their work identity has nothing to do with them. No wonder consultants report that they-companies have unhappy workers and high turnover.

Gossip that praises others can raise the gossiper’s self esteem.

Sharing negative feelings about a third party can increase closeness between two people but be careful: people unconsciously associate you with the things you gossip about. Via 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute:

When you gossip about another person, listeners unconsciously associate you with the characteristics you are describing, ultimately leading to those characteristics’ being “transferred” to you. So, say positive and pleasant things about friends and colleagues, and you are seen as a nice person. In contrast, constantly complain about their failings, and people will unconsciously apply the negative traits and incompetence to you.

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About Eric Barker