It only takes that one mistaken word or that suggestion/false accusation to ruin one’s reputation – and a possibly eternity to correct its damage.
In trying to decipher ways of conducting research on rumors, I actually discovered an interesting article on exactly that. The article is called Rumor Has It, and it’s in The Public Relations Strategist Summer 2007 issue. The whole issue actually deals with crisis management, and outlines actual cases and various problem-solving tools and methods.
The area that I found most compelling – was learning that there’s a science to rumors. You can actually control rumors mathematically if you so desired!
According to the article, under The Basic Law Of Rumor:
A formula for the intensity of rumor can be written like this: R˜ i x a
Rumor = subject importance to individuals x ambiguity of evidence pertaining to topic
Based on this equation if either variables are zero, then there is no rumor. This is because ambiguity alone cannot sustain a rumor. By the same rules, an ‘incremental decline’ in either can result in a ‘greater-than-incremental’ decline in the scope of the rumor. One could expand on that train of thought…and say the converse for the ‘incremental incline’.
The article hosts interesting laws, axioms and arguments that are both intriguing and logical – but suggesting that one can systematically control a rumor is quite a statement.
Question: would it provide ease at any stage?