Saturday, May 15, 2010

Of all the forms of media, television has the strongest influence on public opinion

Got out of bed after a long nap... let's just get right to it.

Of all the forms of media, television has the strongest influence on public opinion.
Explain what you think the above statement means. Describe a specific situation in which television might not have the strongest influence on public opinion. Discuss what you think determines whether or not television has the strongest influence on public opinion.

  1. Television is very influencial, it brought the vividity of motion picture into home. Since people are more likely to believe things they see for themselves, TV has a very strong influence on public opinion.
  2. The Internet is arguably more influencial than TV. In addition to just receiving, the Internet is an interactive network which is more effective at instilling a thought in the viewer.
  3. The influence of TV versus the Internet depends on the overall age of the population. Younger population tend to be affected by the Internet while the older generation are more affected by the television.
If they say a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million. The invention of the television has brought motion and liveliness into common households. In comparison to the radio, the television incorporated a visual sensation, and it accurately presents the events that has taken place to the audiences, right in front of their very eyes. In comparison to the newspaper, the television is much more vivid, and in addition to the sound, never fails to grab the attention of an audience. Television has a very strong influence on public opinion because it can appeal to two of the most important human senses. The combination of sound and images can convince the audience that they are witnessing the reality. The reason that we get scared watching a horror movie is exactly the same. Even though we understand perfectly well that the movie is a work of fiction, the vividness convinces us that it is real. Television has exactly same effect on its viewers. If a dubious individual were to read a report of an incredible event on the newspaper, sometimes she may not believe it. However, if she were to watch the report of the same event on the television where the live footage was played back, the realistic feelings generated by the two senses will very likely convince her that what she saw was real. Since the telivision can be so convincing, it has one of the strongest influences on public opinion among various forms of media.

The Internet is arguably more influencial on public opinion than television. Just like the television, Internet appeals to the senses to create a realistic feeling that can easily convince its users. In addition, Internet is much more portable than the television. Nowadays, the Internet could be accessed at anywhere, anytime. Cellular phones, ipods, laptop computers, just to name a few. The convenience and accessibility of the Internet means that it is able to reach a much wider audience than the television. More importantly, the Internet is not a static network fed by a few wealthy media companies; it is an interactive network where people can receive instant feedback about their thoughts. In addition to receiving the information in a format that appeals to the senses, Internet users can go online to share their reflection with regards to the issue and receive responses from other users. This interaction can greatly reinforce the information and have a greater influence on public opinion. 

While both the television and the Internet are very influencial to public opinions, the strengths of the influence is greately dependent on the technology literacy of the society. The television and the Internet, despite being two of the most popular forms of media, have very different users. Internet usage requires a lot of technical knowledge from the users, therefore it is very popular among the younger population of the society, which tend to be more technologically literate. Television, on the other hand, are relatively easy to operate and does not require significant technical knowledge. Therefore, whether the television or the Internet has a stronger influence on public opinion depend largely on the demography of the society. Societies with a big young population tend to be affected greater by the Internet while societies with older population tend to be affected by television to a greater extent.

(Word count: 558)

This is terrible... today must be my unlucky day. Hopefully it will get better with practice... lol

The following is the same writing prompt taken off the Internet, written by somebody else. Personally, I think his is much better.

Television is more vivid and engaging than radio, more up-to-date than movies and documentaries, more programmed towards issues that invoke “public opinion” than music and shows, and perhaps most importantly, it also has more audience than any other traditional forms of media. This places television in a position to better influence public opinion than the rest. But what is “public opinion”? Is it the shared values or believes of a significant portion of the society? Or is it the collection of different opinions from every member of the public? For the sake of our discussion, let’s define “opinion” as what a person think of something or someone, with the connotation of moral judgment, and “public opinion” as the opinion of every members in a society.

National television programs can reach millions of viewers in an instant, and frequently these programs cover stories that would influence what we think of the subjects in them. For example, a news story on CBC about the crackdown on demonstrating Tibetan monks by the Chinese government caused an uproar in the Canadian community and greatly influenced the Canadian public opinion of the politically restrictive regime.

However, the influence of television on public opinion as a medium may arguably be less universal than the Internet, especially for some specific subjects. The newest technological progress cannot be covered adequately by any television program if only because of the speed and quantity of these advances. Instead, the army of bloggers, technical journalists, and online discussion forums lead the eyes and ears of the explorers and developers of the computer world. When Microsoft launches the World Wide Telescope, a ground-breaking project that maps out our understanding of the universe in an intuitive, 3D simulation map, it is first demonstrated in the TED conference and uploaded to the Internet. Soon it got the attention of countless bloggers, and the buzz spread through the cyberspace. This changed many people’s opinion about Microsoft, which was widely perceived as a monstrously large, arrogantly money-thirsty monopoly which lacked the innovation and energy of some of its competitors.

Had the World Wide Telescope been aired on national television, would it have caused the same effect on public opinion as the Internet? No, because the audience that would be excited about such technological break-throughs are moving away from the television as a provider of information. The television nowadays is only a source of entertainment for the younger generation, and CSI does not really have much influence on the public opinion of anything. The key in determining the dominance of television and the Internet as the major influence of public opinion, then, is where the audience is who would care to have an opinion on this issue at all.

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