And now for something completely different – the anti-rumor websites
Scientific research is suggesting that the old saying – “Rumors do not dignify responses” is bad advice. So if you can’t ignore the rumors, what are you supposed to do? Rumor control specialists suggest to take a stand and stop it.
The way rumors were handled in the most recent American elections (Obama’s own anti-rumor/facts website – Fight The Smears) seems to back up this new perspective. Latest (I’ve seen) addition to anti-rumor websites is gmfactsandfiction.com launched by General Motors aimed at stopping the rumors regarding extremely bad situation in the automotive industry. I am not sure how that will work out for GM, but it sure did work for Obama.
This concept of communication on the web is quite new to me and very appealing. However, there is thin line between stating the facts and propaganda. For example – “stealing thunder” is one interesting and perfectly valid method of rumor control used mostly by US celebrities and politicians. Basically, you explain why the rumor exists, and who is benefiting from it. Then you create a new truth by providing worthy piece of information, one that people will gossip over, but which you can control. If done early enough, can completely put shadow on original rumor.