Year 13 this week applied Marxist theory and Hegemony to audiences, allowing us to revisit some audience theories (Both credited to Katz & Lazarsfeld, 1955); namely…
The Hypodermic Syringe model:
Here audiences are ‘injected’ with representations, values & ideologies directly from institutions – such methods are used in propaganda materials, for example.
The Two-Step Flow model:
Is this model, audiences receive the same sort of information as above, but it is ‘filtered’ by ‘opinion leaders’ (Influential figures, such as ‘experts’ or celebrities).
We talked about the relevance of each model in today’s society and their possible applications for the future. Mass media has clearly changed a great deal in the last 10 years, let alone since 1955. Through discussion, we established that this is largely down to the invention of e-media and better technology;
- Faster internet, allowing for streaming of media
- Social media, giving audiences more freedom to communicate
We therefore attempted, as a group, to construct a new model, that we hypothesise will come into effect in the next 10 years;
At first glance, it certainly looks similar to the Two-Step Flow, however, closer inspection shows that it is in fact, a cycle, which is started by the audience.
- The audience dictates what it wants
- Opinion leaders act as ‘spokespeople’ and represent the dominant ideologies etc.
- Institutions react to the needs of the audience, summarised by opinion leaders and produce texts to meet the needs of the audience
- Opinion leaders, as with the Two-Step Flow, filter these texts back to the audience
- The audience reacts and the cycle continues.
What do you think? Is this a likely scenario? Please leave a comment below.