Social changes occurring across the world have radically changed how information sources are utilized for learning, entertainment, and knowledge-sharing. Social-based technologies, such as MySpace, YouTube, and Facebook are now considered to be moving into the social mainstream, thus providing an excellent opportunity for opinion leaders to spread their personalized messages. “Wherever people are online, they are actively engaged in a wide variety of social media platforms, from blogs to social networking to video-sharing” (Smith, 2009, p.559). Social media over the Internet is a significant revolution from traditional information sources such as newspapers and television as it relates to lifestyle and allows for the evolution of thought from a variety of demographics. This is why this form of media is becoming more and more valuable to opinion leaders as it maintains the ability to reach a wide variety of consumers to present different advertising schemes and concepts.
The content of messages now has changed with the use of mass media when considering social media outlets as it no longer has to be targeted to just one specific demographic, such as newspapers like the Wall Street Journal which is targeted to those who invest in stocks and bonds. It can be directed toward a global community, as a means to influence and persuade others to accept a particular advertising message. The electronic format of this type of media also allows for rapid charging of the message by the opinion leaders as a means to shift delivery in the event of changing social needs or beliefs across the world.
In order to explore the issue more effectively, one should take into consideration the concepts of advertising in order to better understand the observational methods of those delivering the advertising content over mass media sources and how it manages to influence the opinion of the community. Marketers have a strategy to ensure the competitiveness of their products and also to maintain a competitive edge over other businesses that sell similar products or concepts and services. This strategy is referred to as positioning, which is “owning a place in the mind of a consumer. By understanding how a mind works, marketers can use it to their advantage and successfully drive demand for their products” (Trout, 2008, p.2).
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