In Small Towns, Gossip Moves To The Web And Turns Vicious Summary

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In The New York Times’ article “In Small Towns, Gossip Moves to the Web, and Turns Vicious,” author A.G. Sulzberger follows a series of rumors and their effects on a small town in Missouri. This small town gained late access to social media, and has therefore been seeing a shift in the way that gossip is spread. Specifically, the author focuses on how Topix -- an online news forum-- has negatively impacted the rural community and their overall perception of their neighbors. This discourse contains an overall ideology that contains the beliefs that small towns are full of gossip, and that social media is a negative influence aiding these rumors. Through critical analysis of diction, quotes, and images present in the text, one can see the overall …show more content…

Throughout this piece the author’s frequent use of location descriptors such as “rural,” “town,” “community,” and “neighbor” play a vital role in the construction of this story. The use of these words nineteen times suggests that the author’s story will focus on small towns and the constant flow of gossip within, despite their neighborly feel. In one section of this piece, the author explained that large communities can not keep up with each other’s gossip, while small towns tend to thrive on it. The inclusion of this portion suggests that the author finds gossip and rumors to be a vital part of the small town experience, thus creating a traditional small …show more content…

Throughout this piece there are twenty-one words that contribute to an underlying belief of this article, such as “social media,” “web,” “internet,” “forum,” and “post.” These words show that one of the focuses of this article is the form in which rumors are spread on the internet, as they are the terms that appear quite often. In addition, the context in which social media is presented can be identified through further examination. The repetition of words such as “gossip,” “commenters,” and “comments” sixteen times shows that not only is the author focusing on the internet platform, but also what negative things are being presented on these sites. Finally, the way in which this story paints social media can be determined by the use of a negative word choice sixteen times. Words similar to “bullying,” “target,” “complications,” and “allegations,” create the belief that the author finds the use of social media in this story to be making a bad situation even worse. The overall diction present in this piece supports the belief that social media in its entirety has a negative effect on a small town’s gossip, and that in a small town the circulation of gossip is becoming more common due to social media

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