The rise in social networking sites has opened up doors to a variety of possibilities and avenues of interaction; millions of web users log into their favorite portals each day to exchange news, events, and show various sides of their personality. An online presence in your network comes close to paralleling a full-fledged social life
in the ‘real world’ for many; the gossip fest surrounding a particular news piece in the media, a current event, or a personal story can elicit thousands of page views within a few hours. Who needs a soapbox to cry out today’s affairs when your idea can be carried across the world in less than an hour? Writing up a blog full of links to support your viewpoint is a rising trend for thousands of subjects.
Sites such as Digg.com, Furl, Technorati, and other Web 2.0-driven sites are creating large-scale opportunities for this immediate exchange. This ‘invisible grapevine’ serves as a fantastic web of informational energy, bursting with the latest and greatest. If you’ve got the scoop on your favorite star, have a juicy story-byte on the happenings in the community, or are just getting back from a crazy encounter with the media, there are many avenues to disperse and declare your views.
Gossip blogs are quickly becoming a top search item on many news, entertainment, and current event networks for low-key, high-drama content. People are now thinking beyond a phone call, an e-mail, or even a face-to-face conversation. If you can generate an article on the next nearest keyboard, chances are your opinion and comments will get heard and even sputtered around a network within a few hours. Thanks to large-scale social networks that highlight hot topics instantly, gossip and chatter are taking on new forms for hundreds of users and viewers.
Digg.com’s ‘Swarm’ capabilities are just one step towards generating and propagating highly-read content. Think of a rating system that simultaneously delivers, highlights, and tags keywords in a visual form. Digg.com’s Swarm function enables users to ‘see’ the major topics in ‘real-time’ as information is posted. If an item is viewed and shared by the majority of users for a given day, it is color-coded and ‘bounced’ on the most-viewed pages. Gossip couldn’t travel faster than through a channel like Digg.com; it’s a web of interaction that is picking up speed in more ways than one.
If we take a look at gossip the ‘old-fashioned’ way, it might take at least a day, or twelve hours, for the average gossip story to travel around the world. Besides relying entirely on print or online news advertising to relate the message, television and radio news might also serve as a medium. For longer-standing subjects, authors and writers may publish books and commentary on a particular topic. However, today’s opinions can be instantaneous. With the increases in user-generated content, news and words travel on a different time scale. Sharing gossip through a networking channel is becoming as natural as checking e-mail and messages each day. The ‘hotter’ the topic, the more attractive the site and exchanges. The power of speed and user interactivity are essential drivers of gossip blogs on the internet today; as users are typically linked to multiple generator sites, the chances of the message being spread are higher than ever before. As people become more comfortable with this form of exchange, video blogs and instant messaging clips may also quickly become extensions of the wild world of message exchanges.