How I Have 2-Stepped to the Two Step Flow Theory So Far
As I continue my journey through my mass communication theory class I cannot help but reflect on how these theories apply to my life. It seems only natural to reflect on their effects on me. Did they even have an effect? Let's look...
This past two weeks for class we learned
about the Two Step Flow Theory.
Watch the video on the right for a quick
overview on the theory.
This theory of communication was developed back in the day (1940's) during a presidential election when research showed that the media messages influenced the people less than their own personal communications. Individuals are influenced by opinion leaders, people who have a strong voice in a certain group. The individuals in social contact with the opinion leaders are usually a bit less active. (For more in depth information on this theory check out the Britannica Encyclopedia's version of what happened - here.)
My initial reaction to all the theories I learn about has been this thought, "No, that's not me.
I definitely do not do that." I'm trying to look at this from a more realistic and open-minded stance. In some ways I do act as an individual in contact with a social leader.
At my previous job my Director, who was also my direct boss, acted as an opinion leader because she would give us her interpretation of information from her supervisors and the board, as well as her opinion on how our department should proceed. This was extremely prevalent during the COVID19 pandemic because we were constantly given new information on how to do our daily responsibilities with the constantly changing environment. I did not question her at first, until there was a discrepancy between our department and another. Once that occurred I not only received the news from my boss, but also looked on our work's website daily, listened to the president of the company's weekly webinars and confirmed information with co-workers.
On my old Instagram account I followed several fitness 'influencers' that would post news on new fitness research. I also believed what they were saying because I did not have a reason not to and at that time I personally did not know much about weightlifting. As I evolved into a personal trainer and powerlifting coach I discovered that some of the information they were sharing on their posts as 'news' in the fitness world was not correct. I would still follow them and read what they shared, but then I would also cross check with fitness journals and peers in the industry.
In some ways I could be considered an opinion leader because I share news with my family members, close friends and a niche of people on social media. Otherwise, I do not share much news with the general population. This is a theory of communication I will continue to reflect on as I interact with others and consume news in various ways.