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Celebrity Gossip Websites Essay

964 words - 4 pages

Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people - Eleanor Roosevelt. What are the reasons for the popularity of celebrity gossip websites?

To just what extent are people interested in private lives of celebrities? The size of the business of celebrity gossip news is best described by the numbers standing behind it. According to New York Times over $3 billion in revenue is annually generated in United States only (Rutenberg, 2011) and 28% of Americans treat the Internet as their main source of celebrity gossip news (Statista 2014). Websites such as TMZ, Radar Online or The Hollywood Gossip generate traffic in hundreds of thousands every week, making them ...view middle of the document...

Whenever they prepare the front page, they use different version of it and display simultaneously to different recipients. When an article gets more interest (people click on the story they want to read in detail), it is prioritized and thus appears to the rest. In short, people decide which articles are interesting and which not and the process takes place within minutes. And apparently, what people are interested in the most is celebrity gossip. The Huffington Post quickly changed the character of its articles into a more gossip-oriented, to suit the readers demand and website traffic skyrocketed.

So far it seems clear, that the popularity of celebrity gossip websites comes from the demand of people, who are very much interested in private lives of others, the more scandalous the better. But what stands behind this desire? Is it possible, that gossiping is a fundamental part of human emotional behavior and a social instinct? Frank McAndrew, PhD, an applied social psychology professor at Knox College has been studying the origins of gossiping for nearly 20 years. His recent study suggests, there is a strong connection between gossiping we know nowadays and “gossiping” of our ancestors. From the beginnings of human interactions, information was everything and one of the ways to obtain it was by exchanging information with others, for example through gossiping. In an interview (Stambor, 2006) McAndrew said: "If a caveman down at the bottom rungs of the group's hierarchy learns that the No. 1 caveman dragged a mastodon home, he wouldn't be interested in the information because he couldn't use it to his advantage, but if the No. 1 caveman had a falling out with one of his wives, he'd be real interested in the information because it is potentially useful." Other researchers suggest that gossiping was mainly a way to become accepted as a member of a certain group (Winerman, 2006).

What other purpose may gossiping, especially celebrity gossiping have? For...

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