We know gossip can be negative and malicious. Gossip is when you have malice of intent and mindless conversation about someone else. It gives people power in the moment.

But here’s an interesting twist on gossip. Listen here to a talk by William von Hippel on London Real about how people create coalitions through gossip and a means to control the behavior of others.Von Hippel talks about the genesis of how humans have learned to use gossip as control.

This 5 minute psychology expose is gives insight on why people love to gossip. We know we shouldn’t but we do. People do it for many reasons. He says:

“When people make fun of you, you feel terrible. But is that a bad thing or can that be helpful?

Gossip can be malicious of course. But lit regulates group life and takes out the outliers.

He speaks about how gossip is used to turn groups against each other. One group member moralizing about why they are a better person and using that power to wean out others. This is a great conversation starter.

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