Your Power As An Opinion Leader

Think for a minute about the friends and family members you have on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tumbler… etc.  Who on your list would you consider to deliver consistently reputable information?    Would they be someone whose post you would take for face value and not even bother to Snopes?  Would you feel comfortable passing on that information, without even second-guessing your click to “share”?

Well those are the kinds of people the media target their messages to.  They are called the opinion leaders.  They are “used” by the media to filter messages to the rest of us the opinion followers.  This process is called the Two-Step Theory.  This is a theory about how messages are transmitted to the public.

Messages are passed on the leaders.  Leaders are people who either inadvertently or purposely have their eyes and ears out for messages from the media and for what ever reason choose to pass those message along, usually with their own interpretation or opinion of that message to the followers.


Now think for a moment are there times when you are the leader?   How do you feel your own opinion was swayed by someone else’s postings? That is how powerful opinions can be. .  How about those who have follow you, how do you affect their opinions?   You have the opportunity though the social media to influence a great number of people.  It is important for all of us collectively to understand the affect we have with a simple click of a mouse, the pass of a message, the comment on an advertisement. 

So the next time you sit down and begin to click and share those ads, pics and memes take a moment and think about the messages you want to transmit to those who follow you, about the power your wield.  Think about how your power is being used by the media and make the choice your are comfortable living with.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas on this.  I’d love to hear from you!

Bravery Will Get Us Everywhere!

Hello There,

This is Pamela back for the next installment of my Media and Society blog entries.   The topic that I have chosen to discuss today is the Spiral of Silence.  The Spiral of Silence is a Mass Communication Theory introduced by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, a political scientist. I’m going to try to break this down a bit so that it is understandable.  Not that I feel anyone out there is of inadequate intelligence, but because in doing so it helps me insure I am understanding what I am supposed to be learning.  So here goes.

The Spiral of Science Theory is a type of perception is reality.   Now that statement alone makes me cringe because I fought long and hard not to give into that theory in itself.   To me perception is NOT reality.  Reality is reality.

But I digress.  Spiral of Silence is when people are afraid to voice an opinion they have on a subject because they feel their opinion is not one of the majority.  They feel their opinion is not the popular one, so instead of standing up for what they believe in they just remain silent.  In doing so, their opinion is not counted at all.  Their opinion is void.  What this mean to the scheme of things is that when the opinions are tallied and accounted for theirs is not in the mix, so the opinions which ARE counted do in fact become the majority due to lack of opposition.

Whew, that is a mouthful.  So, now that that is out of the way, I want to get into a touchy subject and ask; who as fallen into this trap themselves?  Come on.  This is a safe learning environment. Who has kept an opinion to themselves because they felt their opinion would isolate them from the group of their peers?  Ok, so no one is prepared to answer right?  Well that there is an example of the Spiral of Silence.   None wants to be unpopular or ostracized from the group for not having a like-minded opinion so the silence spirals out of control.

It takes all kinds of people to make the world go around.  People who challenge ideas and push the envelope.  If everyone had the same like-minded opinion how would we ever advance, grow and develop?  I am not saying go out and be a Rebel without a cause, but what I am saying is that as human beings we need to take a chance and step away from our comfort zone.  Stand up for what we believe in.  Voice our individual opinions.  Do so in a polite, calm manner.  Remember we maybe introducing an idea no one has ever thought about before, that is a good thing.  Take the opportunity to educate those around you.  You never know your opinion could win over the majority.

Always keep in mind facts can be right or wrong, but the fact is, an opinion can never be wrong.   Don’t be afraid of opinions; embrace them as an opportunity to learn from each other.  This is our chance to become a society, which not only tolerates other ideas but also welcomes them.

Please share your ideas and opinions with me.  I’d LOVE to hear from you!


unknown. (n.d.). The spiral of silence theory. Retrieved from

unknown. (2010, July 23). Retrieved from

University, O. T. (unknowm). Spiral of silence. Retrieved from clusters/Mass Media/spiral_of_silence/

A lesson on the effect of a Facebook post…

While working on an assignment for my Media and Society course I have been exposed to several theories concerning the effect media has on society.  While reading over my assignment, I had an eureka type moment.  Although I have used the term ”social media” in reference to Facebook I had never before taken into consideration that Facebook posts can have the same effect as an advertising piece, and can be lumped into the media category, until tonight.

Funny, since I study how to have an effect on the masses through the media, I never thought of Facebook as a way to influence the behavior of my family and friends.    But, in learning about the Limited Effect Theory I see how this can be applied to Facebook.

First off I should define media, which is, the main means of mass communication (esp. television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet) regarded collectively.   Well, that covers Facebook all right.

Now, for the Limited Effect Theory, that is a bit harder to explain.  Let me try…. Mass communication messages flow through opinion leaders then, flow down through the rest of the audience.    These messages are then filtered though each person’s own variables.   These variables can be broken down into three categories.  Individual differences, these would be a persons education and intelligence.  Then there are social categories, which are political and religious affiliations.  And lastly there are personal relationships, which are friends and family.

Simply reading these definitions it hit me.  Every post to Facebook has the potential of supporting the limited effect theory.  Every post, from a simple picture to a meme, based on how a post is processed by the viewer can affect that person’s opinion of not only the poster but the poster’s message.  Even if no message was intended, one is implied.

I came to this conclusion by thinking about how some people chose to express their decision to stay at home during one of the largest shopping days of the year, Black Friday.   (see examples)

Black FridayBased on the image, phrasing a person chose to use to support their decision said a great deal about how that simple message was filtered to as well as through the poster and would then affect the opinion of even more viewing and sharing that message.

Well heck that realization just blew me away.  And I wanted to share that with you all and wonder if you have had similar thoughts or experiences with your own, or others Facebook posts.  I hope some would choose their experiences.  This would help me with my homework as well and help being to attention to others how much effect they actually have with their own posts, tweets etc….

Thanks in advance for at least reading and hopefully sharing.

Magazine Article Layout.

Pamela_Bolger-MultipleDesign  link to pdf version

page 1 and 2 page 3 and 4

A special thank you to Fred Terling Jr  for allowing me to utilize his story for my layout.

My favorite part was creating the composite photos.  I really enjoyed the projects for this class; Digital publishing.  Thank you to my instructor Matthew Lett for the constructive feedback and the positive outlook.  It was great having you as a facilitator and mentor these last four weeks.