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If you have to precede a statement with, “I probably shouldn’t tell you …” then you are right, and should be quiet immediately. The old word of mouth monster rears its ugly head time and again in every small community, and there is no telling who gets burned or when. We can’t have it both ways.
While some of us (in the business sector especially) count on someone telling someone else about the friendly or efficient service they have received, we forget about how fast word travels when something goes wrong as well. While we recognize that the ole grapevine naturally gets in a knot or tangle for someone, unless it has caused us great harm, no worries.
Twitter, that relatively new wireless service that allows everyone to monitor their friends and families every move, is not big here, yet. “Tweeting” would allow the gossip to move throughout the community even faster, via cell phone. When cell phones first began to be used by most everyone here, I was surprised. Who would need to talk on the phone every second of every day? Appar-ently if our cell phone bills are any indication the majority of us.
While the name sounds stupid, the service apparently extends the social network of even the most lonely individual. I always thought you had to be pretty lonely to share some of the most inane activities of one’s daily life. Important messages such as, I got up and ate a bowl of cereal. Wow, earth-shattering news. I would be just as annoyed about that notification, as I am with that twenty-four hour breaking news feature that includes the oddest announcements. Yet, our non-technological social network,word of mouth or the community grapevine, is keeping us as up-to-date on our friends and neighbors lives as the new technology.
Growing up with grandparents and other extended family members who admonished with the old tried and true, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” seems not to have stopped the continual chatter. If only it was chatter-time fillers with little significance, but usually the talk includes speculation and assumptions that aren’t true.
There are no take-backs when false “facts” are spewed into the air and these little conversational bomblets do their damage. Its unfortunate that most of the people doing the damage have no idea of what they are raining down upon someone else’s reputation with their “acid conversation.” After all, if you ask them, they are just making small talk.