Presentation and Reception of the Rumor

Valdas Pruskus


The article analyses the process of how an informal information becomes a rumor. It is possible only in a certain situation. It is called rumor situation. It has two main conditions: right place where people can share informal information; and a wish to get additional information about a person, an event or a phenomenon interesting for an individual. Information presentation is conceived as a process of three stages. First stage – pre–interaction stage: a conveyor contacts the talker and clears up his preferences. Second stage – presentation of information (content of rumor). In this stage special attention is paid to: 1) rumors “quality” which influences its acceptability and  2) tactics of rumor information presentation. There are five criteria of rumor quality: Information should be presented as special communication and confidence value; Information should not contradict the objective and obvious heart of the matter; Information should be presented in understandable and popular forrm; Information should raise a wish to find out more details and particularities; Information should be characteristic. On the ground of above-mentioned criteria it is possible to valuate acceptability of rumor to information receiver who sometimes turns to be especially finicky and critical user. In order to clear these obstacles two fold tactics is used. First, criticism towards presented information should be neutralized using active and passive ways of rumor offering. Second, interest of a receiver should be stimulated proportionally and information presented considering a receiver’s psychological type. Third stage – “exit” from a rumor: rumor unlike other forms of communication has no accomplished mechanism because is permanently “renewed”. Usually rumor dies when a person ends it voluntarily. However, it is not simply to end the game of a rumor. All the participants of rumor cycle (conveyor – receiver – conveyor) do not want or, in other words, are afraid to exit first. This disinclination is related to three circumstances. First, with exit he reduces his possibilities to find out more about a person or an event interesting to him, i.e. to satisfy his curiosity. Second, he does not feel safe because he himself may become “the third”, i.e. object of rumors. Third, with exit from the rumor cycle he challenges common everyday communication where a rumor is an integral part. Rejection of such communication may grow into social isolation. That is precisely the thing of an individual fears. It is true to say that a rumor is a particular communicative game and an individual is inveigled into it by society. No wonder all people despite their social position, profession and living place are bigger or smaller rumor conveyors (creators) and receivers.


Article in: Lithuanian

Article published: 2007-09-14

Keyword(s): rumor; rumor conveyor; rumor receiver; information quality; informal information; rumor quality; communication; comunicative game; rumor situation

DOI: 10.3846/coactivity.2007.21

Full Text: PDF pdf

Coactivity: Philosophy, Communication / Santalka: Filosofija, Komunikacija ISSN 2029-6320, eISSN 2029-6339
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License.