Week 4 – Public Opinion

The lecture by Dr Pamela Schultz this week gave some professional context and expression to something I have been thinking about for some time, particularly in the web 2.0 environment. There is no mediation on things like ‘backpacker journalism’ and social media, and I have long been contemplating the effect and power of this opinion-sharing – not just on the issue at hand (for example, Gillard’s prime ministership) but for the larger social issue(s) (gender equality, women as leaders/intellectuals, in government). The power of our own words is a newer concept for me, which I have thought about before, but perhaps not as explicitly as Dr Schultz explained. As a female intending to be in management teams and positions of leadership I should be aware of my use of language about myself. This reminded me of a Tedx Talk by Jennifer Siebel Newsom on gender equality.

The concept of framing was also very relevant for me, and the news media this week have given me some practice in identifying how it is constructed, particularly the use of fear.

My contemplation on the topic of ‘public opinion’ since completing the readings has been dominated by politics and campaigns for the 2013 Federal Election in terms of determining the need and interests of constituents and developing a platform that is truly and democratically representative.

I found the discussion of how public opinion ‘crystallises’ around events, and how it is reactive rather than proactive, to be very interesting. An example that came to mind for me was the police brutality issue that arose from the viral video of the Melbourne Mardi Gras.

To be honest, I find the fluid and indefinable nature of public opinion quite challenging, and I’m getting the impression that industry experience is the only solution.

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