Direct Communication Opportunity
Non-news media sources provide a much more direct communication opportunity to the sender and recipient. For instance, live, online political speeches often include an element of spontaneity – no more waiting for a friend to email you back or call you with the next speech update. Political party newsletters, too, while very likely being written by the official communication agency of the party, aren’t subject to bias-eliminating or fact-checking by an outside source. In either case, the sender can use the opportunity to put his or her own two cents in.
Social media has the same opportunity to serve as a double-edged weapon. Many argue that the overall lack of accountability when relying on social media makes it harder to hold public figures accountable. However, there are a number of news stories over the last year where people have stood accused of disseminating fake information during major news events. Reporters are left struggling to verify the facts presented, often missing the opportunity to get the story before the public.
A media diet is also convenient because it allows the media sources to cherry pick their sources. The traditional media diet consisted of just four (4) major networks, all of which could potentially be manipulated. Major print publications were not beholden to the whims of networks and cable news shows. This created a unique opportunity for new outlets such as InfoSpace, which is largely untapped media territory. While the potential for abuse is real, the ability to create a larger target audience through new outlets gives InfoSpace a distinct advantage over traditional media sources.
An advanced form of direct communication opportunity used social networks to deliver a “social” component directly to the target audience. Rather than creating content through journalism or traditional media literacy, this medium provides users with a platform to share their thoughts and ideas in an anonymous fashion. This facilitates dialogue and socialization and helps to foster a sense of cognitive openness. Engaged citizens tend to think and argue more, which can directly affect policy decisions.
Another potential opportunity that has been missed due to the decline of news media is the social media habits of citizens. The rise of Facebook and Twitter has caused an entirely new set of users to become socially active citizens. While they may not be ready to openly discuss their political views, they do share a significant amount of information about current events, entertainment, technology, business trends, and social activities. This allows journalists to tap into a new and exciting source of data about the general public that they would otherwise never be able to access.
While a potential opportunity for influencing policy has been missed, at the same time this does not mean that it should be overlooked. The fact is that media gratifications can help inform policy makers. At the moment, many individuals are uncomfortable with their impact on public opinion due to research indicating the negative effects of media advertising. However, as more studies are conducted, it is likely that media influence can reduce these risks. In addition, there is strong evidence that media influences attitudes towards politics, businesses, and public policies.
Finally, many would agree that e.g media sources such as blogs, podcasts and YouTube play a key role in providing a link between public and political interests. This therefore highlights the importance of understanding why these sources have become so popular, what their benefits are, and how they can be used to improve both business and personal life. It is also important to highlight the impact of e.g media on public attitudes towards business and public policy. Some research suggests that the increasing prevalence of blogs has led to an increased distrust of business and public policies. This is because most people do not understand the difference between commercial blogging and non-commercial blogging.
Blogs can be explained uniquely in terms of a process of socialization, diffusion and community building. Blogs gain in popularity as they become known and accepted by those they appeal to, and as the information they provide becomes better disseminated through a community of bloggers. In this way, the content on the blog, rather than being static or unchanging, is described uniquely by bloggers. This allows blogs to “spiral” and to spread like a virus. For example: a blogger identifies a problem related to a specific company and offers a solution to the problems facing the company and its customers. When this information is communicated and taken into account, it increases trust in the brand and helps to create brand loyalty.