Factors Influencing Gossiping Behavior in Social Chatting Platforms

Factors Influencing Gossiping Behavior in Social Chatting Platforms

Adilla Anggraeni (Bina Nusantara University, Indonesia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8535-0.ch003

Abstract

This chapter discusses the need for drama, interpersonal closeness, informational susceptibility, and compassion for others and their influence towards gossiping behavior via social chatting applications. Technological advancements have enabled people to communicate with each other at the convenience of their homes and in real time. This change, however, also means the changes in human behaviors, such as computer-mediated communication, can be shaped by the richness of the media that people can use to convey their thoughts and opinions. The existence of different chatting applications has fulfilled the needs of human beings to be connected and to interact with each other, and the interactions that take place can be in the form of gossiping and spreading information that may not necessarily be accurate.
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Introduction

Human beings show an increasing interest in and attraction to telling stories that do not belong to their own environment. The interest and attraction to tell stories may lead people into forming social networks in their own social contexts. Conversations and information spreading, all the way with the acts of preserving group norms, can lead to the act of gossiping. Gossip can be defined as an exchange of information about absent third parties taking place in social contexts in which all actors involved are known (Foster, 2004). Gossip is considered as a key social behavior that everyone who is working in any organization can experience, hear, and probably be involved in (Mills, 2010).

While gossip is denounced publicly, its positive roles in socializing, informing, and entertaining, have led to the question of the possibility of individual differences in the individuals’ private attitudes about gossip (Litman & Pezzo, 2005). Ben-Zenev (1994) noted that, even though gossip may have a bad reputation, some individuals in fact view gossip quite positively, and acknowledge its roles in making friends and gathering information, while others may have a negative perception of it entirely.

Gossip received when verifiable or gained from a trusted source, can provide individuals in organizations with useful information (Grosser, Lopez-Kidwell, Labianca, & Ellwardt, 2012). Context is a crucial factor, as a piece of information may or may not be gossip, depending on who is telling the information to whom and the context and intentions (Nevo, Nevo, & Derech-Zehavi, 1994).

Social networks have gained popularity over the past decade. The popularity of these networks can be attributed to the ability of the users to produce and reproduce content (Jeong & Kim, 2017) as well as share information to others within or outside the network. Adults have exhibited strong desires to stay connected and updated with what their peers are doing to avoid being left out and to maintain relationships (Fox & Moreland, 2015).

Social networks are linked to gossip in a way that they facilitate the spread of information from one individual to another. The vast networks that an individual has or belongs to, may speed up the spread of information. Both social media and communication-enabling platforms have been used to interact with people whom one knows personally others an individual would want to be in contact with (Wells, 2011 in Alalwan, Rana, Dwivedi & Algharabat, 2017). This chapter will discuss different factors influencing the spread of gossip in communication-enabling platforms, including social networks and chatting applications.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Utilitarian Influence: Influence that somebody follows due to the expectation of achieving a desired social outcome.

Self-Compassion: The compassion that one feels for oneself.

Interpersonal Closeness: The perceived degree of closeness that one individual has toward another person.

Compassion for Others: The compassion that one feels for others.

Personal Valence: The importance that somebody assigns to something, whether it is considered to be personally relevant or not.

Need for Drama: The characteristics of a person that are exhibited in manipulating other people by acting as a victim.

Influence Susceptibility: How easily it is for the individual to be influenced by information that he or she receives from others.

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