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Media Content and Social Networks

Dietram A. Scheufele

Subject Interpersonal Communication » Communication Networks
Media Studies » Media Production and Content

Key-Topics networks

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


In The people's choice , →  Paul F. Lazarsfeld and his colleagues laid out many of the key issues that disciplines such as communication, political science, and sociology continue to struggle with when modeling the intersection of mass media and social networks ( Lazarsfeld et al. 1948 ). More specifically, they offered two key constructs to explain the interplay of mass-mediated information, →  social networks , and political →  attitudes that are still relevant today: opinion leadership and political cross-pressures (→  Opinion Leader ). Lazarsfeld and his colleagues saw opinion leaders as nodes in social networks who provided critical connections between mass media and citizens. Opinion leaders, they argued, were citizens “who are most concerned about an issue as well as most articulate about it” ( Lazarsfeld et al. 1948 , 49). Subsequent research has refined the →  operationalization and measurement of opinion leaders (e.g., Noelle-Neumann 1985 ; Weimann 1994 ). But little has changed about the original interpretation of the construct and of the role that opinion leaders likely play in social networks ( Katz 1957 ). Most importantly, opinion leaders provide a critical link in what Lazarsfeld and his colleagues called the “two-step flow of information” (→  Two-Step Flow of Communication ). Specifically, opinion leaders tend to rely less on interpersonal sources for their ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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