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 http://communicationtheory.org/the-spiral-of-silence-theory/
unknown. (2010, July 23). http://masscommtheory.com/2010/07/23/quiet-down-heres-spiral-of-silence/. Retrieved from http://masscommtheory.com/category/theory/spiral-of-silence/
University, O. T. (unknowm). Spiral of silence. Retrieved from http://www.utwente.nl/cw/theorieenoverzicht/Theory clusters/Mass Media/spiral_of_silence/