The book says Fama, which translates literally as "rumour", was a personified goddess of the Romans:
"What she heard she repeated first in a whisper to a few, then louder and louder until she communicated it all to heaven and earth."With the modern power of the internet and mobile phones, I reckon Fama must be more powerful than ever as rumours can now spread all over the world in moments. Although rumours can be fascinating, and sometimes useful, they can also be dangerous when there is no truth behind them.
According to the book On Rumours: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done:
"Rumours are nearly as old as human history, but with the rise of the internet they have become ubiquitous... False rumours are especially troublesome and often resist correction. They can threaten careers, policies, public officials, and sometimes even democracy itself."The book goes on to point out that stock markets and economies are particularly susceptible to rumour, which is particularly relevant in the current financial crisis. It urges us to be cautious when faced with a rumour, and not to take them at face value.
Sounds like good advice to me - and I am currently checking out the facts behind the rumour I heard, before I post anything about it on A Bad Witch's Blog.
Nevertheless, I do enjoy hearing a good rumour. Have you got any good rumours to share?
I'll post something about the one I heard as soon as I know more details...
The picture above is entitled 1874 Women Gossip Scandal Man Listening Upstairsand is a print available from Amazon.
The Concise Mythological Dictionary
On Rumours: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done