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)
Based 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.