public opinion

  1. Evolution of Public Opinion 
 Public opinion has been present since the Ancient Greece until today. During the Ancient Greece, public opinion was tied to the interpersonal networks, people gathered for entertainment and to debate on order to reach a consensus. During this period of time, public opinion was deeply rooted in the values and to the day-to-day life of a community.  
Then, during the 15th century, the printing machine was invented which changed to notion of public. The printing machine tied people together across the world, it made possible the diffusion of ideas, it changed the concepts of demography and citizenship and it helped develop the notions of public thoughts and national identity.  
Then, during the 18th century (Enlightenment), before the French Revolution, people gathered in coffeehouses, salons, reading societies and literacy clubs to express their opinions. This situation led to riots and strikes which ended up with the French Revolution. Jacques Necker (prime minister of Louis VXI) used for the first time the expression of public opinion to describe the talk of the salons.  
Then, during the 19th century, with the implementation of male suffrage, the classical assembly of the people changed into a mass-mediated body constituted by newspapers that brought people together. During this period, public opinion was considered as an aggregation of the preferences of individuals and also, it was the time when polling was born. The American elections of 1896 represented the origin of the political culture in the 21st century. 
Then, during the 20th century, the radio and the TV were created which helped connect societies through communication. However, with the creation of the TV in the 1950s, it separated the people since everyone was inside their houses watching TV. Moreover, networks became powerful and influential and politicians started to use them in order to shape public opinion. Public opinion was based in the aggregation of atomized households and their inhabitants rather than in community norms, values and exchange.  
Finally, during the 21th century, the internet was created which changed public opinion back to a conversational mode. Nowadays, public opinion can be measured and defined through different ways of communication. Finally, the internet combines interpersonal, group and mass communication and it allows the distribution of information and the interaction among its users.

5. Hypodermic Needle Theory (Magic Bullet Theory)
The origin of this theory can be found in the work Propaganda Technique in the World War, written by Harold Lasswell in 1927. This theory is a model of communication that suggests that mass media has a direct, immediate and powerful effect on its audience. It defends the idea that mass media can influence a large group of people directly and uniformly with appropriate messages that seek to trigger a specific response. This theory was based on the assumptions of that time about human nature. As research methodology became more developed, it became more apparent that the media had selective influence on people. Moreover, research concerning important intervening audience variables disputed the idea of direct influence. Such research led to the “limited effects” model that explained the impact of the media as a function of social environment in which they operate. These effects were understood as an activating and reinforcing preexisting conditions in the audience. 

6. Multistep model 
This model directs the theoretical and empirical effort to network positions other than centrally located individuals. It introduced the idea of horizontal flow that extends our attention to other segments of the interpersonal network. This influence can be multi directional, meaning that opinion leaders can influence as the same time as they can be influenced. In this
model, “marginals” are sued as “importers” of new information. 

7. Direct and indirect influence
The direct influence of the media on public opinion can be measured with the learning theory and the cognitive theory. The learning theory says that opinion if a matter of the correct war of learning information. Within this theory, we can find the agenda-setting theory, a theory developed by Walter Lippman in 1922 in his work Public Opinion, where he argues that mass media is the principal connection between the events in the world and the images in the minds of the public. People assess how important an issue is by the time they see the issue covered in the newspapers, the role of the agenda-setting theory is to orientate the audiences, to suggest topics for interpersonal discussion and to provide a cognitive map. The question of who sets the media agenda is crucial for the interpretation of effects. The cognitive theory, says that the differences between the representation and opinions of the population are regarded as results of their processing information (framing, priming, interaction of cognitions and emotions).

In the indirect influence, we can find different frameworks such as the ‘false consensus’, which is to see its own behavioral choices and judgements as common and appropriate. Then, the ‘looking glass perception’, which is the conviction that everyone has the same opinion as oneself. Finally, the ‘pluralistic ignorance’, which is the mistaken conviction that the opinion of the majority is the opinion of a minority. Also, we can find the Spiral of Silence, developed by Elisabeth Noella-Neumann. This theory says that there is an influence on the readiness to make public statements on controversial issues, also, that the perception of what is majority and what is minority has an impact on the voicing of one’s own opinion in public. This model assumes that people are constantly aware of the opinions of the people around them and adjust their behaviors to the opinion of the majority, since there is a fear of isolation, because groups who see themselves in a minority are less willing to express their opinions in public. Finally, people tend to rely in two sources when making assumptions of what everyone thinks; the immediate social environment, people project from recent discussions in their immediate social circles when making assumptions about the larger opinion. And the news media, citizens have little direct experience with, or where they may have a hard time gauging opinion climate, they seek to the news media. 

8. Role of advertising 
Advertising is a series of appeals, symbols, and statements deliberately designed to influence the receiver of the message towards the point of view desired. Advertising is the primary way of stimulating the sale of the products in our consumer-oriented society and, as such, has a direct influence on the economy. Finally, advertising is also used as the financial base for our mass communication network, for the structure of out commercialized media system depends completely on the revenues from advertising. 

9. Online advertising
The advantages of online advertising are the behavioral marketing, meaning that the online activity is monitored which helps creates specific advertising for each person. Also, online advertising has the advantage of immediacy and is not limited in geographic location. Moreover, the interactive capability of the internet allows feedback instantaneously. Finally, internet marketing allows the convergence of the seller’s products and the buyer’s interests. 

10. Audience commodification 
The concept of audience commodity originates from the political economy of communication, it was a political issue discussed by Smythe to show that Western Marxist analyses had neglected the economic and political significance of mass communications. Media industries are based on the transformation of audiences into commodities that can be sold on to advertisers, many researchers argue that new technologies increase the power of media giants and businesses to commodify audiences and to sell them to advertisers. By using new technologies, users perform actions that make themselves easier to commodify by businesses. However, some researchers such as Jennes opposes the negative sense of audience commodification by introducing “audience empowerment” and argues that digital technology can also enable users in dealing with the surrounding environment