This Week in Rumors: Be Careful What You Wish For…




243603-kitten-i-love-cat-and-dog Rumors and Social Media

Everyone can relate to that feeling of excitement you get waiting for news or information about an important upcoming event! Whether it is waiting for a favorite artist to release a new album, the debut of the sequel to a movie, or the long awaited end to an abhorrent event, there is a feeling of elation when we finally receive the information. This familiar feeling is what causes us to obsessively search for news on the subject, and what makes us share the news we find with others.. Again, we can largely attribute the quick spread of these rumors to social media. If you have been following this blog series, you know that we mention social media quite often. This is because sites like Twitter and Facebook play an influential role in the spread of all rumor types. They allow us to hear or read a rumor and pass it along almost instantaneously.

Old Dogs, New Tricks

Even before social media and the Internet, there have been spaces that are entirely devoted to spreading this type of rumor. Many newspapers have a section devoted to “gossip” which often includes wish type rumors. There are magazines such as People, In-Touch, and Star that are completely dedicated to sharing and advancing these rumors. Although social media has increased the speed at which a rumor circulates and the volume of people it reaches, it is not nearly the only contributor.

A King of All Trades

At NarrativeTrack, we classify these as wish type rumors. Wish type rumors are stories that spread out of hope for an event or outcome.  Because of their occasional gossipy nature, this type of rumor is very common in the entertainment industry, sports, and even sometimes in politics. This is not to say that wish type rumors do not cover very serious or important topics. In fact, they often emerge in these spaces. For example, a merger between two relevant companies or the signing of an influential treaty could spark the spread of wish type rumors. Below are three more common examples.

1.    Daft Punk will be appearing with Pharell Williams at the 2014 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Festival line-up rumors are a good example of wish type rumors. People begin discussing whom they expect to headline, and this information spreads quickly.

2.    Osama Bin Laden was killed during U.S. bombardments in Tora Bora.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, most of the world was eagerly awaiting the news that the United States had finally captured Osama Bin Laden. This restlessness lead to many rumored sightings and causes of death.

3.    Nick Franklin of the Seattle Mariners will be joining the New York Mets in the 2014 MLB season.

Most trade rumors like this are wish type rumors. During the off-season, fans begin to speculate whom they think will be playing for their favorite teams, and these ideas spread rapidly.  Trade rumors are even more abundant with the rising popularity of sites like Twitter and Facebook.


As you can see, wish type rumors cover a myriad of spaces, both professional and not, but their abundance makes them an important rumor type.

Return next week for the final post in the series where we will discuss wedge rumor types!

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