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Word of mouth: from the Greeks to Twitter

Posted by: | September 23, 2012 | No Comment |

We all know what word of mouth is. A friend tells you some news, whether it be juicy gossip or something they heard on the radio, then you tell someone else and it goes on and on. By the time it goes through a number of people, it can become distorted and completely inaccurate.

In today’s world, the most common way we exhibit word of mouth is through social media, especially Twitter. Although word of mouth can lead to distortion of news, social media sites like twitter allow news to travel much faster. Within minutes a news story can blow up just from one tweet.

Where did word of mouth begin? Although it has no real time stamp, it can be traced back to the time of the Greeks.

In 351 B.C, Demosthenes, a Greek orator, delivered a speech called the First Philippic, addressing Athenians obsession with word of mouth, stating “Thus we all go about framing our several tales.”

It is funny imagining the Greeks walking around whispering about the latest gossip surrounding Alexander the Great or what battle will be fought next. It is also interesting to know our behavior has not changed much since that time.

So even back then word of mouth was an everyday form of communication and gossip that we all participate in. Since then word of mouth has come a long way. Now everyday ‘word of mouthers’ on the internet consider themselves journalists, which has its pros and cons, it is just the matter of sorting the reliable ones from the not so reliable.

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