Two Step Model – Media

Lesson objectiveTo explore the Two Step Model
Lesson outcomes• This model to others and assess its significance
• The impact
• What the Two Step Model is

The Hypodermic syringe model was adapted by Katz and Lazarfeld in 1955 creating the Two Step Flow Model. This model accepts the media has a powerful influence, but the audience can react in numerous ways. There are two distinct stages. First, opinion leaders receive the message from the media and make an interpretation. They then pass this interpretation on to others as well as the actual media content. The term “personal influence” was coined to refer to this process. Opinion leaders are quite influential in getting people to change their attitudes and behaviours. This model has been significant in understanding how the mass media impacts people making their decisions. The theory refined the ability to predict the influence of media messages on audience behaviour, and it helped explain why certain media campaigns may have failed to alter audience attitudes and behaviour.

Examples of Two – Step flow theory include elections for example in the 2017 UK general Prime Minister Teresa May did not take part in an election debate with six other party leaders. An opinion leader may have watched the debate and then told their friends who did not watch the debate that the Prime Minister bottled out as she was scared to debate with the other leaders.

Criticisms of the model

  1. There could be more than just two steps in the flow model. For example, if two opinion leaders disagreed and came to an agreement then this would introduce a third step.
  2. It still depends on the media being the lead and the audience simply react. This isn’t always the case.
  3. It argues that people are very dependent on opinion leaders and struggle to make their own minds up. Again, surely this depends on the type of person.
  4. It fails to explain why opinion leaders are the only ones capable of interpretation and not all individuals.
  5. With the rise in technology, it could be argued that we are all becoming opinion leaders.

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