Gossip is defined as “unconstrained conversation or reports about other people or groups, usually suggesting information that is not confirmed or verifiable as being true”.
Gossip is a sub-product of language. Reputation, good or bad, is one of the sub-products of gossip. And branding is one of the sub-products of reputation. Another one is stereotypes. Thus, sequentially:
Language > Gossip > Reputation > Branding | Stereotypes
Both branding and stereotypes are the fuel of social interaction online. Gossip is then one of the most underrated drivers of the development of Internet. It made Facebook and Twitter the monsters of communication of today.
Engage in gossip
Gossip is cheap and quick. It allows you to amplify your communication by talking or writing about things instead of doing them. Gossip can be started with very little actual information. Gossip is so efficient in communication terms because it rides the wave of latent prejudices and stereotypes.
The physics of gossip
Gossip is engaged by all sizes and types of entities capable of communicating. An individual can engage in gossip with another single individual or a groups or groups of people. Groups of any size, from football clubs, nations or even entire population speaking a language.
Gossip is transmitted in waves between the nodes of a social graph much like virus propagate in a population.