EVERYONE likes a gossip from time to time don’t they? It’s what keeps the modern workplace going most of the time.

I know there are some who say they don’t normally like talking about others but given half a chance will give you chapter and verse about Bob in Accounts, the office shredder and the trip to A&E last night.

So we all do it and it doesn’t half travel fast. Italian researchers at Rome’s La Sapienza University (so yes they are boffins but as they’re Italian they all look a bit like Sophia Loren, even the fellas) claim gossip spreads as quickly as a virus.

They proved this by posting something they’d made up on the internet and within 17 hours it had appeared in a newspaper. We know how fast stories travel because we’ve all read about those people who have sent e-mails to the wrong people by mistake and a matter of hours later their indiscretions are the talk of the World Wide Web.

Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook have become such a part of our everyday lives that it’s easy to forget how viral they are and the wrong thing posted online means you could live to regret it forever.

So be careful what you say and to whom you say it, there is a whole world of gossip out there waiting for the next juicy tale.

Oh and by the way if you’re wondering about Bob, it didn’t come off completely and he should be back at work soon, although he may never be able to stand up straight up again, or wear swimming trunks, or be allowed back into Staples.