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Media Affects Theory

What is it?

‘Media Affects Theory’ relates to the idea of how media affects society and how society can affect the media. One of the many negative aspects about this theory is that there tend to be a lot of ‘copy cat murders’. This refers to people replicating the violence that they see in media, such as in videogames or movies, and copying the behaviour. This can put people’s lives at risk.  This happens due to the public being easily influenced by what they read and watch online. There are hundreds of thousands of articles that comment on the fact that  people are causing damage to peoples lives, due to the changing attitudes that come with their individual beliefs changing, due to mass media. One example of this is from the Daily  Mail, which states that;

‘The two US 12-year-olds obsessed with online ghost stories ‘who lured classmate into woods and stabbed her 19 times’ to prove ‘Slender Man’ myth was real’.

Slender man is a supernatural character that gained fame through a YouTube independent film series. Then, he was eventually given his own horror video game, which was critically acclaimed worldwide and given several sequels. It was due to this that he attracted such a cult following and a wider range of audiences differing by age. Unfortunately, this also includes young children, some of whom are more easily influenced than others. By reading this headline, it is clear proof that children in particular are affected by this the most. They are going through the stages of metal and physical growth, and whenever they hear or read something, they tend to take it in like a sponge, either remembering this for a short or long term basis. Similarly, teenagers are also easily influenced by everything they surround themselves with. Particular aspects of media can have a huge impact and easily influence behaviour on particular individuals. Some people feel that the children’s parents are in control of what kind of media their children can see. They can easily take bad behaviour from many areas such as video games and television programmes which lead them to over thinking ideas and eventually results in stress and many other symptoms like violence and anxiety from a very young age.




Importance of media

Frankfurt school of social researchers was proposed by them in the 1920’s. It is also known as the Institution Of Social Research. It was founded by Felix well in 1923, he wanted to develop Marxist studies in Germany. The Nazis  made it close and move to the United States.

Media is a huge part of our society, from the internet to radio and newspapers, it is hard to escape from. Each and every day these events are occurring and people are gaining stardom from various platform such as Twitter and Instagram. A big following is what attracts the public and therefore gaining steady recognition month by month. Advertising helps a lot with this. One of the most popular social media is YouTube, their huge platform enables them to contact their users to promote their products. Using online stars to talk about their products in hope of attracting a wider audiences and generating a lot of money from it. This is a powerful way of bringing a message across and making your name known to the public. The free publicity is  not just for yourself but for your business/ community, which generates a lot of exposure.

‘A report published by Texas Tech University found that brands with active social media profiles have more loyal customers. It’s easy to imagine why: when you’re engaging and interacting on social media (not just tossing your posts out onto the web hoping someone will stumble upon them) you become less like a corporation and more like what you truly are — a unified group of people who share a vision.’-

The more social media you have and the more active you are, it is more likely that your pages will thrive. When you advertise yourself or your business in a professional manner people will be more attracted to what you stand for. Therefore customers coming back to support your current and up and coming projects. The loyalty between an owner and customer is something that needs to be worked on and trusted. It is hard for your brand to be well known if it does not exist online. Presenting it across all sorts of different media allows followers from all spectrums and interests to come to your page. Interacting with followers such as replying and reading feedback is something that can help your business thrive.

Dominic Smales  which manages Gleamfutures told Channel 4 News:

“We totally support anything that makes the relationship between talent and audience as honest as possible… this is a really new space and it’s evolving all the time, and we are keen to be at the forefront of compliance.”

He manages the most popular Youtubers such as Zoella, Pointlessblog etc with over a million subscribers. Dominic states that honesty is the best thing to be in this industry because with this huge following, it is easy for a viewer  to recognise when someone is not being truthful. Advertising on Youtuber is much newer than the other social media platforms therefore it is important to consider what opinions and content is put out there for the world to see.


The Magic Bullet Theory

Another theory that relates to ‘The Media Affects Theory’ is known as the ‘Magic Bullet Theory’. The word ‘bullet’ in this theory name is a metaphor for information injecting into the audience minds, firing a bullet into the public’s mind, in a sense. It injects it into them, exploiting any opinions of their own and manipulating us, hereby changing our behaviour and transforming our minds to reflect what we see in mass media. This then results in them having an immediate reaction and are powerless to resist the message and the impact it has.

In short, ‘The Magic Bullet Theory’ is a model of communication that suggests a message is directly accepted by the receiver. Information from a text passes into the consciousness of the audience and challenges their opinions and intelligence. It is believed that mass media has a direct effect on the public. Some scholars do not agree with it due to it not having any scientific evidence to support it. It is purely based on assumption. The reaction from the mind of the audience is knowing what the message is without hesitation.

An analogy one could use regarding this theory is that media acts like a needle. It then injects a message into the spectators minds and can easily persuade and interchange their usual opinions and behaviours. They are affected by this because they can not escape from the world of media of which we surround ourselves in our everyday lives. A hint of vulnerability is shown through this idea.

‘In 1938, Lazarsfeld and Herta Herzog testified the hypodermic needle theory in a radio broadcast “The War of the Worlds” (a famous comic program) by insert a news bulletin which made a widespread reaction and panic among the American Mass audience. Through this investigation he found the media messages may affect or may not affect audience.’ –

By doing this, it showed Lazarsfeld and Herta what kind of reactions the people will have when unexpected occurrences happen. Every person is different, therefore their reactions would also be different in the event of different circumstances occuring. In Germany and the United States, during World War Two, media played a large part in influencing peoples opinions. A number of factors contributed to this theory. Examples of this are the rise of popularisation of television and radio and Hitler’s monopolization of mass media, which unified the German people behind the Nazi take over. Media manipulated them from a young age to believe what Hitler and the Government wanted them to believe, and thus, making them believe that fighting and mistreating the Jews was right.

Some may have a negative outlook regarding this theory, but others may see it as a positive one, depending on their outlook of life and their upbringing. For example, Lazersfeld and Katz also introduced the two step flow model of communication in 1944. This is when ideas from the mass media flow into the leaders and then to the general public.

A book called Public Opinion, which was written by Walter Lippmann (1922), stated that all the pictures in our heads are shaped by media. This theory also explains how it represents sex, violence and abnormal behaviour which results to it affecting the younger generation. This was founded by Frankfurt school of social researchers in the 1920’s.

Of course there are always strengths and weaknesses to this theory. One strength is that statistics can show how reliable something it is and gives evidence to support opinions. It also involves numerous participants and can extend over a long period of time. A negative for this is that it can be too simplistic, audiences interpret information differently.