Molding and Shaping Perception in an Internet Age

My daughter had a college paper to do and ended up doing it on, “Old and New Media Influence on Anti-American Sentiment“.

What was fascinating was to read this report (PDF) from May, 2007 entitled, “The Communication of Anti-Americanism: Media Influence and Anti-American Sentiment” by the Department of Communications at Cornell University and see that this massive research study focused on traditional media and completely left out new media!

They examined all sorts of statistics and variables in the report: country, age, income, media habits, and much more. The problem in leaving out new media is that  most people under 30 have radically reduced their consumption of old media and instead are having their perceptions molded and shaped by exposure to all sorts of opinions and alternative new media forms.

Her argument was that negative perceptions of America were being molded and shaped by all media, not just traditional media. In an age when many globally are eschewing broadcast media for social network’s, YouTube, SMS, blogs, and shows like The Daily Show or even Al Jazeera offerings, there is no doubt that any thoughtful consideration and examination of public opinion and cross-cultural perception must include new media forms.

As I wrote this looking at that goofy picture of Ze Frank (which must frighten children and small animals), I thought about how tough it would’ve been for Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbel‘s, to have done what he did for perception-controlling had the Internet existed in the 1930’s.

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