Posted by: carebear | October 17, 2011

Media Deep Freeze

Today’s online media invites a great deal of participation.  Whether it be in the online conversations initiated by comments following a news article, blog posts,  twitter followings or chatting with NPR during a live broadcast, if we want to, we can participate.

In both works by Katz and McCombs & Shaw, they discuss influence, be it by individuals we interact with or the media as a whole.  But, there was one major component unavailable during their studies – the internet.  With today’s technology, the internet is not just a cold medium, it is a media deep freeze, where information and interaction is literally at one’s fingertips.  So, with the various choices in media to obtain information about politics, can the media still determine the issues?

I thought I would take a look at the issues that a few major new providers were determining for the upcoming election.  Agenda setting of the issues can be seen quite clearly on CNN.com’s 2010 Election Center.  http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2012/campaign-issues.html  The site actually goes as far as listing the issues as Economy, Health Care, Foreign Policy, Immigration, Same-sex Marriage and Abortion.  Now, I couldn’t find the “issues” is such a nice little package on other major new sites such as msnbc.com or foxnews.com, but they are plastered with election coverage on these topics, nonetheless.  And, I didn’t even begin to explore other sources of online information such as candidate’s websites, political blogs, Facebook or YouTube.  So, I have all the information I need to determine my views, right?

With the tremendous amount of information available to us, it can be overwhelming, confusing, and be a challenge as individuals to determine what to believe and what to believe in.  Could it be that we rely on our “advisers” now more than ever, as stated in Katz’s theory of two-step communication?  With all of the information available today via television, internet, radio, etc., does the theory of two-step communication hold true now more than ever?  And if so, who are our opinion leaders?  Are they a manager in our office, an outspoken friend, or maybe someone with a large following on twitter?

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