In the reading: Manipulating Public Opinion: the Why and the How, written by Edward L. Bernays, there are a number of different example of people and groups who manipulate the publics opinion. Another thing to think of is that there is not just one opinion there are millions of them out there. One thing that really caught my attention was this: “This is an age of mass production. In the mass production of materials a broad technique has been developed and applied to their distribution. In this age, too, there must be a technique for the mass distribution of ideas” (p. 971).
Growing up as part of the group known as Generation Z or iGeneration or whatever you want to call it there has always been new opinions to be discovered. As the years of my life have progressed I notice more and more people stating their opinions and not just here or there, but everywhere. People feel like they are entitled to their opinion, which is fine, but they also feel that their opinion is always right. You see opinions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as comments on YouTube videos, and just about any other social media site. Opinions on everything from the way people look to the jokes they make or even on other opinions. It gets pretty crazy on some of those YouTube comments. It gets so crazy, in fact, that there has been a term coined just for such an occasion; it is known as a “comment wars”.
While these comment wars often end up going way out of hand ending with personal fires saying that this person is stupid and that that person is fat there are opinions being spoken that might otherwise be unspoken. Often in the end people’s opinions are not changed but that is not to say that opinions are never changed.
While at times it gets out of hand for people to use social media as a way to display their opinions it really is a great tool. In the past “public opinion is slow and reactionary” (pg 959). Using social media to manipulate the public’s opinions reaches a wide range of people. Along with reaching teens there is also an opportunity to reach an older audience who is beginning to enter the world of social media starting with Facebook (or maybe they started with MySpace but that’s irrelevant now). II feel like it has become even easier to reach the public but harder to manipulate their opinion.