One way the “media” controls the message is by hand-selecting which polls get reported. Polls are used to determine the sentiment of a the market relative to specific topics that are in the news, relevant to your company and anything that influences an objective.
As someone who has a background in statistics I can say that data can be manipulated to mean whatever you want it to mean. On the other hand data can tell you something as long as you first define how you collect the data and what is the definition of the data you collect.
Are You Influenced By Polls?
Polls aren’t just measures of opinion, they move opinions. Most people base their views on so little information so polls wind up moving polls. When the basis of our knowledge is a poll we tend to believe as true, factual and representative of the “market” so most people simply believe it. It is called the “bandwagon effect“ and it happens not only in polls but in all media.
The general rule of the bandwagon effect is that conduct or beliefs spread among people, as fads and trends clearly do, with “the probability of any individual adopting it increasing with the proportion who have already done so”. As more people come to believe in something, others also “hop on the bandwagon” regardless of the underlying evidence. The tendency to follow the actions or beliefs of others can occur because individuals directly prefer to conform, or because individuals derive information from others.
When individuals make rational choices based on the information they receive from others, economists have proposed that information cascades can quickly form in which people decide to ignore their personal information signals and follow the behavior of others.
The Social Media Bandwagon Effect
The bandwagon effect in social media is slanting the audiences view of its real value. If you read current social media trends what we see is people and institutions adopting it because “the probability of any individual adopting it increasing with the proportion who have already done so”. The proportion of the market using social media grows daily but the market is misleading other markets by simply copying what others are doing with it. Copying is a bandwagon effect.
Following the behavior of others reflects a pack mentality. Pack behavior is how individuals in a group can act together without planned direction. The term pertains to human conduct during activities, such as using social media, and even everyday decision making, judgment and opinion forming.
Early we said “social media is a new system of communications”. Copying the “packs” method of communicating is what traditional media has done for decades. Having “planned directions” for use of social media requires thinking about who,what,where, when, why and how you communicate. Communications is not just about marketing and advertising it is everything, it is our economy. If you jump on the bandwagon without thinking then you end up believing what the pack believes. Packs don’t necessarily believe anything of substance rather they react to crowds believing they’ll miss out on something. Think about the “something” before you do something!
The social media polls says not many people are thinking. Are we just drinking the social media kool-aid?