21 November 2009

Spreading a Rumor

I drive on Sitra Bridge almost every day; it's old, always overcrowded, and definitely falling apart. It wasn't that unbelievable to get a broadcast Blackberry message saying the bridge actually collapsed, although I usually wait to confirm news before I spread it.

Apparently the news wasn't true since I was zooming down the bridge 30 minutes after I got that message, but still, the news (rumor) was all over Blackberry messages, Facebook, and even my not-so-connected-to-technology-aunt heard about it, and it literally spread within the day.

So how fast does it take to spread a rumor? Let's find out. Talking to my cousin who asked me whether the Sitra Bridge collapsing thing was true, we decided to set up another rumor and see how long it takes to spread. The rumor is pretty silly, actually, but it's fun to see how viral it gets. Here's what I came up with (Since we're spreading it through blackberry, it might as well be a blackberry news item) ;

Guys, BB Messenger will become subscription only! "Nov 18, 2009; John Adams, president of RIM, the company that provides the Blackberry, has noted regret about closing some of the companies services at the end of the year: "The global crunch has been harsh on our company especially past the second quarter, and unfortunately we will be dropping some of the more expensive services we currently offer for free." The first service to be dropped at the beginning of 2010 is the popular Blackberry Messenger service, which will be restricted to paying subscribers. Packages are targeted towards business subscribers with corporate packages beginning at $200 per month for every 10 units. (CNN.com)

Pushed out and sent to about 50 people on my list, and I asked my cousin to let me know when he gets the message forwarded to him from other people; that was at exactly 11:02pm. Within 1 minute two people had replied complaining about RIM and their service, and one person asking me if it was true or not. Within 5 minutes I got 3 broadcast messages, 2 other people asking me about whether it was true, one person who told me they had googled it and found nothing, and one person warning me to not send stupid forward messages again. I told the people who replied that I actually made it up as a test and to keep track and let me know if they receive any broadcast messages or replies.

By the tenth minute I had feedback from my trackers of over 20 broadcast messages sent back to them from various people, comments like "RIM should sort out their server before asking for more money", "Great i'll get back control of my life again" Hey guys you wanna get together and put the money for a subscription" and more. By half an hour judging from the people I know who had forwarded it, I estimated approx 600 people had received the message (and that's not including people I know only, who knows how many people I don't know forwarded it on).


I'm trying to keep track but it's starting to get hectic so i'll just quit. It's pretty funny how people decide to spread rumors without checking them for any credibility. Tons of rubbish out there, from the "please forward as hotmail is tracking active accounts and will delete if you don't forward", to "dunnowho will pay $1 for every person you forward this to" to everything else. Some fall close to home, obviously; I just got another message about Bershka in Kuwait having spy cameras hidden in the changing rooms and you should watch out.

People are sheep. Funky.


Samboosa.net said...

"The global crunch has been harsh on our company especially past the second quarter, and unfortunately we will be dropping some of the more expensive services we currently offer for free."

haha, awesome.

Ariff said...

I dont know what country you are from and where this rumour spread from but I'm from India and 4 people messaged this to me on my BB just yesterday haha.

Also, there are rumours that people from Nokia and Apple are spreading this news haha

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Ahmed said...

Oh shit dude.. you might get sued for this!

Sarah said...

You've made it onto my page about people who create chain letters.

Anonymous said...

I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
And you et an account on Twitter?

Pissed Off Bahraini said...

There's even a faster way to spread rumors... tell a woman!

goddamn hate filled bitches...

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