Why we love that television program? What is the reason of our expectation for that show, every singles week? These are the some of the questions that the Uses and Gratifications researches are raising and attempting to answer. They want to know why and how we use de media.
Last week, I finished my post saying that only we can decide how valuable is the media for us, how powerful it is for us. This week, I would like to mix this idea with the uses and gratifications approach because I found an interesting link between them. Analyzing the models to explain uses and effects, I think the most important idea is that we will pay more attention to something that gratify us. But, in the other hand, based on the audience activity model, it is very important the attitude of the viewer. Also, the more involved we are in the media, the more influence it has in our behavior. I think this approach is used continuously in marketing, for example. I am saying that because marketing’s main goal is to attract people and gratify them, in order to sell the product. On the other hand, the costumer’s attitude is crucial. If I am interested in buying a car, obviously I will pay extremely attention to the television advertisements and, therefore, some of them will have an effect on my decision.
Another point that I find interesting in use and gratification is the ‘competition and mediation‘ assumption. Basically, the idea is that if we have clear defined choices and individual initiative, we could control the media effects. I think this idea is very interesting because it reminds me of limited-effects theory. I think so because one of the ideas of limited-effects is that, we cannot be influenced directly by media when we have strongly defined ideas about something. Therefore, if we have clear choices and individual initiative, we will not be influenced by media. However, I think that, if we have so strongly defined choices, we could have problems related to prejudices. For example, I have the strong idea that Nokia is the best telephone brand in the market. And now, Samsung and Apple start to produce mobile phones that are clearly better than Nokia, but if I still have that strong idea, I will get stuck technologically, just because of my prejudice about other brands.
My conclusion is that, the effects of the media are limited, because we have clear defined ideas and individual initiative. But also, sometimes, we respond depending on how gratifying is the media message for us. And this is the reason of why we love that song. This is why we anxiously expect the next episode of our favorite TV show every single week.