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Does Gossip Spread Faster Because Of The Web?

I've been thinking about how technology has changed dating, weddings and even gossip ever since seeing 50 Cent and Justin Timberlake's "Ayo Technology" and reading a USA Today article that claims office gossip is spread faster these days because of instant messenger and e-mail. While office gossip isn't exactly fodder for official study, USA Today claims it has taken on new dimensions in this digital age — even becoming a "dynamic force that can build camaraderie but can also destroy work relationships or careers." Here's more:

The proliferation of instant messaging, Internet blogs and e-mail means rumors in the workplace spread faster and farther, and can do more lasting damage.

While this seems obvious to me, it's not a topic I had considered until the last couple of weeks, when a friend admitted she mistakenly imed the wrong co-worker and typed some unnecessarily catty details about another woman in the office. Sadly, my friend isn't alone. USA Today also notes:

Nearly two-thirds of employees say that people in their workplace gossip about company news, according to an August study by Steelcase, a Grand Rapids, Mich., provider of office furniture and equipment. Twenty-eight percent of employees who work in offices without a consistent method of communicating news (such as staff meetings) say gossip is their first source for information.

I try to re-read my e-mails before I send them and consider whether they are appropriate for all eyes. Like it or not, I don't think our e-mails are as protected and safe as we might like to hope. What do you think?

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