Marilyn's Life From East to West

Chapter 9- Public Opinion and Persuassion
April 28, 2009, 2:02 am
Filed under: Reading Notes

This chapter stood out to me because I think that public opinion is critical to our democracry.  Public opinion can be interpreted many different ways.   Public opinion could range from a social group, self-interest, or an opinion based group.  Once someone has satified their self-interest, opinion is difficult to change.  With opinions there are leaders.  After watching Seth Godin’s tribes, the idea of opinion leaders let me to think a little differently, meaning that anybody can be one.

However, opinion leaders tend to hold a very significant role among the groups they are involved with.  These leaders tend to be active in the community, have a college degree, make higher incomes and have a high level of participation.  These opinion leaders help promote a certain idea that they believe in and pass in on to opinion followers.  I can notice in my life that I tend to be both a leader and a follower depending on the subject.

There are many theories that give ideas on how the public receives and holds on to information.  One example is the two-step flow theory in which results showed that the media had little influence on people’s electoral choices but that opinion leaders were very predominant in person-to-person communication.  Also, that opinions are formed most strongly by those who sift through information and evaluate it before expressing their opinions to others.

The role of mass media continues to conflict because some believe that the media has a strong clasp on public opinion whereas other believe that the public make up their own mind and media just reinforces it.  I think that the persuassion the media has relates back the the audience members knowledge and already formed opinion on the subject. I am more influenced on matters that I am not familiar with and then I will begin to do my own research.


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