Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Framing! Framing! Framing!

Now it comes to the end of fall semester, and it’s always one of my traditions to look back before I draw a perfect circle for it. We had many inspiring discussions in Social Media class, which gave us a better understanding about the magic of social media tools. To take one step further, social media platforms are not only known for its effectiveness and efficiency in terms of disseminating information, but also regarded to have great potential to influence people’s behavior.

Information, regardless of ways used to deliver message, can change people’s mind and thus change their choices in live. Everything is a framing issue. That reminds me a fantastic point my classmate Matthew Gress brought up in class: people should create positive message online if they want to reach out to a lot of people. In his words, “how can you ask people to ‘like’ a picture about a fire?” As a matter of fact, how to organize information to help raise as much public attention as possible is an essential life skill nowadays. 
The movie about Pat Tillman, a football start who died due to friendly fire in the Afghanistan war when he was serving the U.S. Army, is a good presentation illustrating that “Media contain ideological and value system.” The government framed the casualty as a flag-waving heroic event that Tillman was died for saving the lives of fellow soldiers during an ambush by the Taliban. It worked pretty well. Many U.S. citizens felt incentivized to serve their own country. Therefore, we can see that media message not only reveal value but also help build value system. 

Moreover, in my point of view, audiences don’t have much power to negotiate the meaning of information presented in media. Negotiations are processes in which people deal with information using their personal value. It supposes to be a struggle before people make a decision on whether to take the value incorporated into media message.  Nevertheless, I am disappointed to find out that nowadays audiences are easily manipulated. Just like many other people who believed Pat was died for heroism without a second thought. 

To conclude, social media can be useful tools to attain goals, as long as people use them in a correct way. It is always good to understand the target population before reaching out to them. Based on the knowledge about what your audiences believe and what they like, then frame your message in a way that cater for their preferences. I think people would be more likely to take actions on things which they originally believe in.  

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