Influenced by whom? (Session 9)

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During the last decades, people have more and more independent spirit. We want to be special, express ourselves freely and have our own ideas, even if they are ‘weird’. But the question is:  Are we more independent? Or  our  ‘special’ ideas are influenced by something  or someone else?

In the early communication theories we learnt people believed that media have a direct and powerful influence in the population. But in 1940’s Lazarsfeld shaped another theory that shows us another interesting point of view. By some researches he discovered that people are more likely to be influenced by  other people, than the mass media. However, not everyone can influence masses of people, we need the opinion leaders. These leaders pay close attention to mass media and pass on their own interpretation of the media messages to others, the opinion followers.

The two-step flow theory  was shaped more than 70 years ago, but I think we can see this process nowadays.  For example, Twitter. We have even the same nomenclature: leaders (that sometimes are called ‘twitstars’), and the followers (the rest of the normal human beings). Maybe we think that those leaders do not influence us, but every time that we spend our time reading their little influential twits, we are impacted by their thoughts. Even influential people, like presidents, used Twitter and other Social Networks in order to convince people to vote them or make them feel involved with the party, like Obama’s campaign, when he invested large amounts of money in digital campaign, using Facebook, Twitter and more Social Networks.

On the other hand, two-step theory is used in the advertisement industry. I can say that because I have bought many products just because a friend recommended  me that product. For example, next week I will go to a specific  orthodontist, because one friend of mine recommended it to me.

My conclusion is that,  although this theory was made in 1940, it can be used nowadays because Social Networks have a great influence in our lives and prominent people (opinion leaders) are using them in order to move masses. Therefore, we have to know these influences in order to know the effects of the media. In order to know if our  ‘special and independent idea’  is our idea, or someone else’s.

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One thought on “Influenced by whom? (Session 9)

    Ruth said:
    October 21, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    This is a big step up from your previous posts! I see you engaging with some of the key ideas from the reading, and taking them a step further by applying them to new situations and concepts. Your point about twitter being a good place to observe opinion leaders and followers is a great one (these are literally called ¨followers¨no less. I hope we have time to discuss this in class, but now there are websites that track how much social media power people have – how influential they are on all their different social media platforms. In other words, this is a new way to quantify opinion leadership online (if you´re interested, the most well-known of these websites is called Klout). [2]

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