knowing things that others don't... but want to, can be an enticingly liberating feeling but must be approached with caution. too often the known information is used as leverage to further oneself instead of a more positive purpose; such as helping out or offerring advice or simply listening and keeping your mouth shut.
my personal train of thought is to be cautious around people who enjoy talking about others. chances are they are talking about you the same way when you are not in the room. in a way you can turn that positioning into your advantage by using them to get information by baiting them with tidbits of irrelevant, untrue or exciting bites they will certainly take and repeat but don't impact you. this way, they get what they want and you can recieve the infromation you want & need.
people who like to position themselves by abusing knowledge have no trouble talking about themselves, hence, stroking their ego is as easy as stoking your pets head. start the conversation by speaking about them and the rest will pretty much take care of itself.
for those who may be reading this asking themselves 'do i do this?'. well, if you have to ask, you probably are guilty and if accumulating knowledge to position yourself above others is your raison detre, know most people can sniff you out like a rotting sardine under your car seat after a hot long weekend.
knowledge is not only a power, its a resource that should not be abused for personal gain.