The power of Mr. Online

In former times, the big bosses had the power. The big advertising companies, maybe even celebrities. Or what about the politicians? Important people had to say important things. No doubts about that. When politicians said they have to invest in health care and education, then that’s what the people thought that had to be done. When a gorgeous man tells you to buy a typical kind of toothpaste, then that should be the one. When a fashion guru tells you it is the trend of the summer to highlight your hair, every women in town would have highlighted hair. But these things belong to the past. Thanks to the power of internet. And the power of the people online.

It is based on a theory called ‘agenda setting’, found by McCombs & Shaw. They state that the media decide what we, as the audience, think is important. However, Kim and Lee came with another version of this theory, which is exactly the opposite. It refers to social media (marketing) as their theory is stated as the following: an online message about a certain topic gets a high popularity so that the traditional media pick it up. This is so called ‘reversed agenda setting’.

An example of this is the Dutch singer Trijntje Oosterhuis. She promised on Facebook to donate one euro for each like she got, for the victims of the hurricane in the Philippines. When it went really fast and reached in no time a number of over 200,000 likes, she removed the message. A day later she explained that she didn’t expect such results and didn’t have the money to donate 200,000 euros but she promised to donate a fair amount. However, also the newspapers got to hear the ‘accident’ and a lot of people were disappointed in the singer.

What happened to this singer is a good example of the power of the internet. A scoop can spread in no time and reach thousands, millions of people within a second. How many times do you see pictures of kids with a picture ‘if I get 1,000,000 likes my mummy stops smoking’ or a picture of a sport team that get sponsored based on the amount of likes for the company. Then there are all the singers that got famous by uploading a video on Facebook or Youtube. Also in the Netherlands there was a real ‘Project X’ happening. A girl sent an invitation for her birthday but forgot to put in on a ‘private party’. Results: from all over the country people were going to her house, while the family of the girl had been evacuated by the police some hours before.

You see it can be innocent or, in worse conditions, it can escalate. But it will be clear that the world is turning. On the internet; the people decide.
Goodbye bankers, advertisers, politicians and celebrities. We have the power back.

Sources:
– http://www.utwente.nl/cw/theorieenoverzicht/Theory%20clusters/Mass%20Media/Agenda-Setting_Theory/
– http://s4291365.blogspot.fi/2012/05/agenda-setting-vs-reversed-agenda.html
– http://www.unc.edu/~fbaum/teaching/PLSC541_Fall06/McCombs%20and%20Shaw%20POQ%201972.pdf
– http://www.marketingfacts.nl/berichten/social-media-zetten-de-agenda-setting-theorie-op-zn-kop

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5 Responses to The power of Mr. Online

  1. loch1912 says:

    The fast-growing of internet and technology lead to a wider visible of the world. Fairly said, nothing you can hide when you put it online. A shocking Facebook’s post from a teenage can be read by millions of people all over the world thank to the spreading through friends, online news articles, ‘share button’, etc. It can cause damages and harm depends on the decisions of audiences, ones who can see and talk about the post. So, be careful when entering the online world, people here are not your best friends, they are more like judges and comment whatever they want. ‘We have the power back’ but remember ‘great power comes with great responsibility’.

  2. yngchern says:

    I also agree with Kim and Lee’s Reversed Agenda setting theory. It’s interesting to see what people are most interested in or what they find most important to reblog, repost, or share on their social network. The power of social networking enables people to access news at an alarming rate. Yes it’s quite rewarding and very empowering to feel as though we’ve gained back some sort of control over what news stories we wish to read about. It would seem that people, would take this advantage to research current events and educate themselves, but I actually believe we’ve done the opposite. With all the knowledge of the world at our finger tips, I feel as though we’ve become desensitized. Most people will share information without actually reading into the article, much less involve themselves with the issue on a deeper level. Staunching their level of knowledge on the topic. These actions have resulted in a new generation of ‘slacktivists’.

    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/slacktivism

  3. suyeonr says:

    Most people, especially young people, don’t get news from traditional way like newspaper, TV, radio any longer. Internet covers all ways. We can even watch TV, listen radio, read all news in newspaper through Internet. In addition, people can communicate online which hardly happens on traditional ways. People are important factors of flow of social media but since they are, there is also hidden sides like isolation who doesn’t follow it, being passive who just accepts whole ideas..and so on. Of course there are more good sides than just only one authoritative has the microphone. So people should try to use social media well as being careful the case like ‘project X’.

  4. KiHoonKim says:

    As we all know, we are all connected on online. For example, the game “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon” which was popular in the United States a few years ago, allows us to suggest many ways. We can know all the people in the world through 6 steps. For example, Facebook has a function called “the people who can know you”. We can know all the people only 6 clicks! If I post my opinion on Facebook today, tomorrow someone on the other side of the world can see and add comments on my post. As you mentioned, in case of celebrities the post will spread faster. This is like the “butterfly effect”. So, when posting something on online, we should think twice.

  5. silkema says:

    I think your are so right, and a very good example. The power of social media is immense and celebrities especially can reach a lot of people, so they have to be carefull what they are saying. Aslo your example of poeple who post such a thing like 100.000 likes and my dad wil stop smoking proves the power of social media. I especially like the power of social media when I comes to persons who are lost. I heard once a story, and there will be many more,that they found through social media a man who disappeared. Or two old lovers who found each other trough social media. In this case the power of social media can be really amazing and we can help eachother in these cases.

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