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"Does the Mass Media Influence Youth Culture?"

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Introduction

"Does the Mass Media Influence Youth Culture?" A S o c i o l o g i c a l S t u d y a n d S u r v e y 1 . . . Introduction What is the mass media? The dictionary tells us that it is: "those means of communication that reach and influence large numbers of people." (Collins Pocket English Dictionary, 1981 edition) To many people, however, it is something much more sinister - a monster that seeks to manipulate and control public opinion. A flotilla of highly entertaining novels and films draw upon the idea of a tyrannical government secretly controlling zombie-like citizens, using the mass media as its weapon. Ironically, these conspiracy novels and films themselves are simply another aspect of the media. But perhaps - especially now, when we are more exposed to forms of mass media than any other previous generation - the seeming fantasies are not as fantastic as we might think. Certainly times have changed significantly since George Orwell first wrote his chilling novel, 1984. For example, Hitler's government proved that it was possible to persuade an entire nation to ignore - or even to condone - horrific acts of inhuman cruelty on a huge scale. This could be done only because of the recent expansion of the mass media to include radio, film and television, meaning that there were now more potential ways of influencing the general public. And making the most of this in numerous propaganda campaigns, it proved frighteningly easy to control what was considered to be a sophisticated and intelligent population. 2 . ...read more.

Middle

Likewise embarrassment can cause similar issues that perhaps would not be present in less personal, or more discreet, methods of research. Then there is the practical problem of having to record the interviewee's responses. Writing in most situations is not fast enough to record every detail, and audio/video recording equipment would be likely to faze the interviewee. There is also the less obvious issue of the interviewer's misinterpretation of the subject's responses which can potentially serve to provide a very different answer to the one intended by the interviewee. The final disadvantage is in converting the responses - which will on the whole be extended and, to a degree, digressive: the result of "open questions" - into useful, statistical information. This conversion is often complex and in significant danger of being affected by the researcher's personal interpretation and opinions, and this above all the other disadvantages convinces me that interviewing would not be a practical method to use in my survey. Questionnaires are the final appropriate method of statistical research that I could employ to collect the evidence necessary for my investigation. Questionnaires have several disadvantages. The researcher cannot be sure whether or not the participant has answered questions accurately and/or honestly, and the anonymity of questionnaires means that it is not even possible for the researcher to check with the subject on the validity of any dubious answers. Alongside this, the questions need to be easily and universally understood, which may be difficult yet is absolutely vital for reliable feedback. Nevertheless, despite these problems, questionnaires have advantages too. They are an inexpensive form of information extraction that can be employed even with large numbers of subjects. ...read more.

Conclusion

The eight-10 age-category vanishes completely in graphs 3:6, 3:7 and 3:8, signifying that Lacoste, Ralph Lauren and Alexander McQueen are targeting an older audience. Overall the middle two age groups - 14-16 and 17-19 - seem to be the most brand-conscious, with the most striking exception being Graph 3:8, in which the eldest two age-categories have the highest percentages of persons aware of the designer brand Alexander McQueen, which seems to suggest that this brand has a mature target audience in mind. Now if we look at the data gathered from Graph 4 and 4:1, and compare it with what we already know from Graphs 3-3:8, we should be able to get some idea of whether targeted advertising has worked. If we start by comparing Graph 3:1 with the appearance of Peacocks on Graph 4:1, there is really little if any correlation. Indeed, at first glance there seems to be no correlation between Graphs 3:1-3:8 and Graph 4:1 at all, suggesting that targeted advertising has not been successful. However, there are a number of small snippets of information we can glean. For example, a quarter of those over 31 years old have a preference for Alexander McQueen clothing. The 31+ age category was also that which was most aware of that brand-name. If we move on and compare Graph 4:1 with Graph 6:1, looking specifically at the 17-19 age category, we can see that Lacoste is the most preferred brand-name with 17-19 year-olds (alongside fcuk) and is judged as the most widely advertised by that age-group, indicating that Lacoste has had some degree success in its advertising. Likewise there is a relationship between Graph 4:1 and 7:1 - the majority of 11-13 year-olds share the same preference for fcuk as they believe their friends to. ...read more.

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