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Opinion climates in social media: Blending mass and interpersonal communication.

Neubaum, G., & Krammer, N. (2017). Opinion climates in social media: Blending mass and interpersonal communication. Social Psychology: Media and Communication, 1 article.

Public opinion has been here for a while and it is the mode in which it is being spread that is changing. In the past, public opinion was more like gossip and got discussed in public places where people met like restaurant, salons and open fields. What is changing in this new era is how fast public opinion is reaching people through social media platforms like Facebook and other forms of mass media like television news and written articles weather online or in newspapers and journals. What this study aimed to investigate was how mass communication presents today as a result of new technology is influencing social processes. The processes that are encouraging this trend include; the ability to monitor other people’s opinions via our mobile devices, the process by which individuals form personal opinion and the process of expressing ones opinion.

It is not exactly clear if it’s the media or people that are to blame on what is projected by media as the peoples’ opinion. People may be the reason and source of what the media puts out there. On the other hand, the media may be independent and may be forcing their opinions to the public. The only thing that is clear is that media is our source of research and results for various topics. Interpersonal relationships are also on the spot as being second to mass media in terms of changing opinion or enforcing it. It is so great that some authors argue that it may bypass media because people don’t see malice in what a friend or colleague may be telling them because of the level of trust and not wanting to fall out of favor with them. Communication with people in one’s social circle influences our perception through getting the prevailing opinion through them and affects people because they are afraid of voicing their opinion because their close people don’t feel the same.

Social media has the ability to judge, form and express individual opinions that eventually become public opinions. Technology has helped social media to represent opinions in different platforms that are varied. This is made stronger by the fact that an online article is accompanied by comments where one can immediately gauge people’s opinion. Media is hard to control because people have the capacity to choose where they get their news and therefore quality may be an issue. Social media also makes expression very easy as it’s easier to write down thoughts than argue them out face to face in public. Technology ensures that information spreads wide and faster and thus what began as a simple issue could end up as a country’s conversation. Networking is possible even with strangers and influences the climate of opinion.

“ People who know each other or have met at some point feel that they know each other’s opinion or what their reactions to those opinions may be,” (Gudynkust & Shapiro,1996) This statement explains that from daily conversations weather online or face to face people are able to deduce on which side their acquaintances are on a major topic. This is because one talks to them and gets to hear them out and by their statements and judgment is immediately done on what opinion they represent. It is also easy to tell that people don’t agree with your opinion when they keep silent or refrain from speaking on a subject to evade conflict.