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The value of gossip

A couple of weeks ago, we had a staff lunch—where we order a bunch of delicious food and sit around talking about what’s on our mind regarding our business and the industry in general.  In the past, I have learned a great deal from these sessions and I believe our staff has as well.

Sure enough, there was some heated gossip along with the yummy cole slaw.   We dished about what was happening at various publishing companies—Amazon and Penguin-Random in particular—and how these events would affect our business and our clients.  There was a really interesting exchange of news and ideas and I think we all felt afterwards that we got some good inside information, as well as enjoying each other’s company.

All of this made me think about industry gossip and its value.  I can see, as I did at our lunch, that when important news and information gets passed around (even if it’s just hearsay) and its implications are discussed and analyzed, we can learn a lot…I certainly did.

After the lunch, I found this piece, which ran a couple of years ago in Forbes and which underlines various aspects of office gossip.  Do you all engage in a lot of office gossip?  Do you find it useful?

3 Responses to The value of gossip

  1. Lynn says:

    Jane, I think you’re talking about apples and oranges here. Talking about insider information and getting the lowdown on the industry, even if it’s hearsay, is quite different than gossiping about a colleague and their work ethic. The article you linked to was more along those lines and I don’t see the value in it. If there’s a problem because someone isn’t pulling their weight, then the issue needs to be addressed directly with that person and those in charge. It makes no sense to go behind their back and gossip in the name of “protecting their group”.

    As the article sums up, “Gossip allows people to gather and validate information, to enjoy themselves with others, and to protect their group.” That’s nonsense! Yes, I’m sure they did enjoy themselves, but were they thinking about what it does to the person being gossiped about? No. I say, confront the person directly.

    Sorry, Jane, but your luncheon with your colleagues and catching up on the ins and outs of the industry doesn’t seem the same as talking behind someone’s back. That said, I wasn’t a fly on the wall, so I don’t know if there was actual gossip going on!

  2. Kevin A. Lewis says:

    I’m sure Jane & Co. mostly just had munchies and talked about the weird replies the various agents get on their blog posts, (well, some of the posts are pretty random, too, so there) and that it was all quite mature and aboveboard; here now, what’s this on CNN?!!! “This is Anderson Cooper reporting from New York where two more agents have killed themselves after a relentless campaign of online interoffice gossip and bullying; we’ll be going live to Dr. Drew and Sanjay Gupta for their thoughts on this ongoing national crisis…” Wow, is that the DGLM office he’s standing outside of??? (I’ve really gotta stop going to Starbucks before I check into this site…)

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