I just finished reading a book, Gardens of Water, about how mistaken beliefs and innuendo can kill people. In this book, set in Muslim Turkey, a young girl commits suicide because her community has turned against her with lies and rumors.
Gossip hurts. Gossip makes people what they aren't. As grandma probably said, "Gossip is what people do when they don't have better things to do."
Gossip and networking certainly don't go hand in hand. If I am networking with you and you tell me something about someone else, it makes me wonder what you're saying about me to the next person. If you tell me something that I find out later is not true, then your credibility has taken a dive.
Gossip is easy. Promotion seems to be more difficult for many people.
I am a huge proponent of the philosophy of, "if you have an issue with someone, talk to them." When you tell someone else about the issue, it can't be solved and you've created an additional problem.
Just think of how much better our world would be if we all had open communication.