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The Phenomenon Of Hype In The Promotion Of Broadcast Programmes: A Study Of Brother Naija

ABSTRACT

This paper explores the intersection of a long-standing public opinion theory – the spiral of silence – and the explosion of the broadcast television show, Big Brother naija. It uses real-world discussion settings (including face-to-face focus groups and synchronous online discussions) in tandem with a pre-test/post-test methodology to measure opinion shifts as a result of hype. This research design is based on well- established criticisms challenging that the spiral of silence may not be fully explained by a national climate of opinion on a topic, suggesting that there are other influences on individual beliefs than just popular opinion. This thesis investigates the role of hype on opinion- forming variables, the role of the social publishing platforms themselves on opinion-forming variables and the manifest application of the spiral of silence within these environments. The hypotheses were not supported by the research and did not yield statistically significant variance, but statistically significant patterns emerged that demonstrate the need for further research in this area that builds on the research methodology across a more extended time span.

 

 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

Big brother naija has made a profound impact on mass media in Nigeria. In the last year alone, society has been witness to a swell of BBN influencers while other broadcast programmers have not been able to enjoy similar or even relatively equal viewership or participation from nigerians (Blankenheim, 2019 ). This trend will no doubt have a permanent effect on the face of mass media in this country, but as the effects of these changes proliferate one must consider the impact of hype on the views hip of the broadcast programmer. At the same time, longstanding theories about public opinion (hype) are challenged by this new media environment and the behaviors associated with individual interaction within it. This paper will explore the impact of these changes on the longstanding spiral of silence theory while providing a fresh perspective on the forming of public and individual opinion in social media environs.

 

Statement of the Problem

This work is focused on examining the effect of hype on the viewership of broadcast programs with a focus on big brother naija. The major instrument of hype in this case is the social media as it is the orchestrator of major promotions of the program. Social publishing tools consist of a unique communication medium framed in the construct of computer-mediated communication. They include consumer-generated content on sites such as YouTube and Twitter as well as the proliferation of personal and professional blogs. By their very nature, these tools are subject to a profound lack of traditional social context cues (Griffith, 2019 ), and increase the instances of anonymous activity. This creates a compelling new set of challenges for traditional communication theory and theorists, particularly Noelle- Neumann’s spiral of silence (Noelle-Neumann, 1984). As she put forth in the theory, Noelle- Neumann believed that the process of opinion forming and sharing was based on one’s

 

perceptions of popular opinion, and that perceptions of decreasing support for one’s position led to a reduced likelihood in speaking out about the topic (Noelle-Neumann, 1977).The impact of computer-mediated communication has been applied against the spiral of silence theory in the past (McDevitt, 2003) but the specific impact of social media and citizen journalism on individual opinion-forming has not been tested. Additionally, a detailed understanding of the intersection of the spiral of silence theory with social publishing and social media holds potential for unearthing how that medium influences individual opinion. Based on a review of existing literature, there is a dearth of empirical studies that assess how human behavior on the Internet can drive opinion-forming in the self and others, and how various social media environments impact that behavior.

The Spiral of Silence theory has been studied extensively from a variety of perspectives.

The theory itself is not without its detractors, although the nature of the criticisms and the recommendations these critical studies make for research in this area actually establish a compelling landscape of research opportunity. This paper will expand on those criticisms and drive by attempting to analyse the effect of social media hype on the promotion of broadcast programs further understanding of the theory by examining it from the new perspective of social publishing.

 

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

  1. To access the effect of hype of social media platforms on the increased outspoken new of those who hold minority opinions.
  2. To assess the effect of freedom of opinion on the promotion of BBN.
  3. To determine if hype has any effects on the opinion of the masses towards BBN.

 

Hypotheses

 

H1: Access to content via social publishing platforms – specifically, blogs and online content platforms such as Tumblr – drives fragmentation in opinion-forming variables and result in increased outspokenness by those hold minority opinions.

 

H2: The increased anonymity of social media – specifically, online chat environments – encourages holders of a minority opinion to express their position more freely than the face-to-face counterpart.

 

H3: This fragmentation and freedom of expression challenges the Spiral of Silence construct and requires individuals to take on more of an editor-based role in the selection of influences that drive their opinion-forming.

 

Definition of Terms Used

 

Social Publishing Tools: Internet-based self-publishing platforms that enable all individuals to share and consume content free of editorial and other filters. Examples: Tumblr, YouTube, Blogger, Twitter and Digg.

Social Decision-Making Environment: The social media environment that a user encounters online. This environment is comprised of both a technology and a communication medium; that is, it is a mediated communication environment.

 

Blog Site: An online content site consisting of a series of journal entries, published by an individual or media entity. online content site published by an individual or media entity for broad consumption. For purposes of this thesis, refers to the actual end-user experience versus the technology platform (e.g., refers to the blog and its content versus the Blogger or Tumblr publishing technology).

Synchronous Online Discussion: An online discussion environment that is real-time and immediate, and all users are present. Distinguished from other online discussion forums like discussion boards and listservs, where conversation is asynchronous and ongoing over sometimes extended periods of time.

Organization of Remaining Chapters

This paper is organized into five chapters. Chapter two deals with a review of existing literature in the field of study. Chapter three describes the scope and methodology for the study and contains an overview of assumptions and hypotheses. Chapter four contains a review of data from the study and discussion of the findings and compares those findings against the original hypotheses. Chapter five summarizes the thesis and discusses limitations and further recommendations for study in this area.

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