My topic is “what is the effect of social media on local political participation and knowledge, compared to local and national mainstream media”.

One way to explore this was to measure the different effects. I published a few stories within the following types of media:

  • social media alone (including blogs)
  • social media and local media
  • social media, local media, radio
  • all the above and national media.

The idea was to see which stories were accepted by the local readers and which weren’t. And when I say accepted I also mean, which stories had informed people and which weren’t even registered.

Things I hadn’t considered when creating this methodology, dispersal or decay rate of information; i.e., people may have read about it at the time and then forgotten about it or dismissed it. How long does a media effect last? Do the effects diminish over time?

How local does the radius of information have to be?

How authoritative does it have to be? Does a well-known newspaper have the same decay effect? I wasn’t sure if decay effect was even a real term but it is: [link]. It makes sense, much like propaganda is said to need constant repeating to be remembered. [Bernays]

The delayed effects of marketing campaigns have been well understood and have been successfully leveraged to measure short- and long-term effects on revenue and brand equity.

The above article might not be relevant enough so I’ve look at others: Trends in Social Media : Persistence and Decay


Social media generates a prodigious wealth of real-time content at an incessant rate. From all the content that people create and share, only a few topics manage to attract enough attention to rise to the top and become temporal trends which are displayed to users.
The question of what factors cause the formation and persistence of trends is an important one that has not been answered yet. In this paper, we conduct an intensive study of trending topics on Twitter and provide a theoretical basis for the formation, persistence and decay of trends. We also demonstrate empirically how factors such as user activity and number of followers do not contribute strongly to trend creation and its propagation. In fact, we find that the resonance of the content with the users of the social network plays a major role in causing trends.

This isn’t a topic I had considered before.

As with all new papers, I have learnt to look at the earliest sources in the references to help me find the literature. All the references in this paper are set in the 2000s bar one. That one is from 1993 so this seems the most useful to me.

M. E. McCombs and D. L. Shaw. The Evolution of
Agenda-Setting Research: Twenty Five Years in the
Marketplace of Ideas. Journal of Communication, (43
(2)):68–84, 1993.

Surveyors presented a variety of “maps” of the agenda-setting process, including the competition between direct and mediated information (D’Alessio, 19921, decay of memory for TV news (Watt, Mazza, & Snyder, 19921, and personal versus social issues (Weaver, Zhu, & Willnat, 1992). Other maps documented linkages between the media and public agendas, such as media cues about issue importance (Schoenbach & Semetko, 1992) and agenda competition among issues (Brosius & Kepplinger, 1992). Researchers also presented new explorations in two major areas, political advertising (Roberts, 1992) and the consequences of agenda setting for subsequent behavior (Brosius & Kepplinger, 1992). These scholars-from China, Germany, and the United States-are contributors to an international marketplace of ideas.


Published by Joanna

A collection of fleeting thoughts that tend to focus around Bristol, food, movies, music and photography.

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