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April 23, 2018 / C H Thompson

Two-Step-Flow Model

  • Views the audience as being active
  • Katz and Lazarsfeld (1955) developed this model on the basis of seeing the audience as active rather than passive
  • They argue respected members of social groups are ‘opinion leaders’ who interpret media messages and then lead any subsequent discussions on media content
  • Therefore everyone views media content (step-one) such as Newsnight, then ‘opinion leaders’ interpret what they’ve seen and influence – mediate – any subsequent discussions (step-two)

Problems (evaluative) with two-step-flow model

  • The growth of new/social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook means there are now more ‘opinion leaders’ than Katz and Lazarsfeld ever imagined
  • It still assumes the majority of media audiences are passive with a select few being opinion leaders
  • It assumes opinion leaders have homogenous views
  • It ignores the diversity of views opinion leaders might have
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