Sex, sorry, gossip, sells. That we already know. It’s the reason Njoki Chege trends every weekend. That’s why Maina Kageni’s Classic FM show is the most popular radio show in Kenya. That’s why Ghafla tops the list of popular blog sites in Kenya. That’s why Nation Media Group had to copy the Standard Media Group’s Nairobian by launching their gossip version – the Nairobi News. Radio Africa also has their own Mpasho. And that’s why Royal Media doesn’t want to miss out on a piece of the action – they have decided to launch eDaily.co.ke to also feed gossip hungry Kenyans with more gossip juice.
Even though gossip turns on many Kenyans and indeed many humans across the globe, I am one of the few who get turned off by gossip. I only know about those gossip websites because I must (I am a blogger for god’s sake). Those like me who get turned off by gossip consider gossip food for the idle, for those with average minds, and for those with small minds. It is people like me that came up with the infamous saying, “Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, but great minds discuss ideas”.
It turns out, the so called great minds that dismiss gossip as idle talk haven’t themselves considered the importance of gossip to humanity. In the Wikipedia’s article on gossip, we are told that gossip is very important in the society as gossip can:
- reinforce – or punish the lack of – morality and accountability
- reveal passive aggression, isolating and harming others
- serve as a process of social grooming
- build and maintain a sense of community with shared interests, information, and values
- begin a courtship that helps one find their desired mate, by counseling others
- provide a peer-to-peer mechanism for disseminating information
From Evolution point of view, we are told by Wikipedia that “gossip originated to help bond the groups that were constantly growing in size”. Dunbar’s evolutionary theories explain the importance of gossip this way, “To survive, individuals need alliances; but as these alliances grew larger, it was difficult if not impossible to physically connect with everyone. Conversation and language was able to bridge this gap. Gossip became a social interaction that helped the group gain information about other individuals without personally speaking to them. It enabled people to keep up with what was going on in their social network. It also creates a bond between the teller and the hearer, as they share information of mutual interest and spend time together. It also helps the hearer learn about another individual’s behavior and helps them have a more effective approach to their relationship. Dunbar (2004) found that 65% of conversations consist of social topics”.
The development of language, then the art of writing, then the mass media, then the Internet and now Social Media have all played a great deal in helping humanity connect through gossip. These diverse avenues of communication have helped the remote you to like, love, hate, befriend, and feel as if you have a personal connection with completely strange but popular humans like Beyonce, Obama, Lupita and Njoki Chege. Your need to know when they don’t brush their teeth or when they fell off the stairs has scientific basis. That’s why you should not be ashamed when I say that I am 98% confident that you are of those who celebrated the launch of eDaily.co.ke this morning.
eDaily.co.ke wants to tell you what’s happening in the life of Akothee, and what the son of Aden Duale got in his KSCE, and what plans Babu Owino had for Pope Francis. On the surface value these types of information do not add any value to readers’ or listeners’ economic status – neither do they add to their IQ, but when it comes to the overall interconnection with evolutionary survival for generations to come, these types information are very crucial. This is why the percent of humanity that detest gossip are less than 2%.
As much as I hate gossip, I think it is scientifically in order for Royal Media Services to launch their own eDaily.co.ke gossip portal.