APPRAISAL OF THE IMPACT OF OPINION LEADERS IN INFORMATION DISSEMINATION
This project work reviews the concepts, measures, and strategies of two step flow of communication which is aimed at examining the impact of opinion-leaders in information dissemination in Nigeria with focus on Owo Township which was the case study. Opinion leaders’ campaigns can be used to catalyze wider political engagement on the issue and to promote sustainable people choices and behaviors. From past research, six relevant categories of self-designated opinion-leaders were outlined, detailing issues related to identification, recruitment, training, message development, and coordination. This study combines the recruitment of community opinion-leaders with traditional media strategies. In evaluating community opinion-leader campaigns, it was concluded that there are likely to be significant trade-offs in comparison to face-to-face initiatives. The challenge for both scholars and practitioners is to understand under what conditions are opinion-leaders effective and in which ways can online interactions strengthen or build on real-world connections with peoples in the community.
1.0 Background to the Study
Opinion leaders are defined as individual who exert an unequal amount of influence on the decision of others” [Rogers and Cartano ,1962: p435] in study of opinion leaders, there are two relevant parties — The opinion seeker or the recipient who seek advice or information and the opinion source or the leaders who give advice or information [Flynn —et al,1995]
Opinion leadership is a concept that arises out of the theory of two — step flow of communication propounded by Paul Lazarsfeid and Elihu kartz This theory is one of several models that try to explain the diffusion of innovation, ideal, or commercial product.
In identifying opinion leadership as a crucial factor in influencing decision making, research has used two alternative approaches. One approach is to ask the users to explicitly identify the personal source from which they could accept advice and analyzed the reason behind such behaviour in term of personal characteristic such as charisma, competence, or behaviour. This approach is applicable when there is direct interaction between every recipient and source in other case such as multi-agent system where direct information is always possible, the other approach is to use the Social Network Analysis [SNA] to identify opinion leaders by studying the social relation among the other in a social network.
A social network is a conglomentation of actors at different level [e. g people, communities, organisation, Nations ,e.t.cjand a set of social relation e.g [trust, friendship, communication ,social support e.t.c] among them SNA is the mapping and measuring of relationship and flow between these social actors. In social network, there is a wealth of personal relationship and ties that develop between the member, overtime and form the basis for trust, cooperation and collective value from such opinion leaders is represent to as social capital [putmani 1995] based on structural characteristic from such a
network, opinion leadership qualities are then diagnosed. In popular usage, the term information refers to fact and opinion provided and received during course of daily life one obtain information directly from electronic data bank and from all sort of observation phenomena in the surrounding environment. This study will see to the importance of opinion leaders in Owo township.
The subject of the dissemination of innovations received much attention in a variety of professional disciplines over the past few decades: Sociologists, economists, communications specialists, and education researchers proposed various theories on the factors and processes which underpin observed patterns of information dissemination and the adoption of innovations (Rogers, 1995, Sunding and Zilberman, 2001). The interest in this topic stems from the importance of innovative technologies, organizations, and contractual arrangements in improving the well-being of societies and the environment. A better understanding of the processes by which new knowledge diffuses within and across societies and communities can suggest actions and investments that can be undertaken by governments and firms that aim to promote innovations. The large volume of empirical evidence that accumulated over the years clarified many aspects of dissemination processes and their characteristics in various contexts.
1 Statement Of The Problem
The problem that lead to the study of the role of opinion leader in
information disseminating in Owo Community are numerous among which are of its is stated below.
The problem of identification, some people finds it difficult to identify an opinion leader in a society; also the roles of the opinion leader in disseminating and dissemination of information are not well spelled out.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
Apart from being practical useful in itself in showing how the attribute of the role of opinion leaders’ dissemination of vital information, the study is aimed at the following objectives;
(1) To examine the impact of opinion leader in Owo township
(2) To show that opinion leader is an important means of disseminating information in community.
(3) To show that opinion teacher build mutual understanding between. The mass media and the community.
(4) To identify way by which opinion leader diffusion information and idea to the people in rural area.
(5) To identify the impact of information disseminated by opinion leader on people of the society.
1.4 Research Question
(1) Do people of Owo Township feel the impact of opinion leader?
(2) Do opinion leader really impact in disseminating information in community?
(3) Do opinion leader build mutual understanding between the mass media and the community?
(4) How do opinion leaders diffuse information and ideal to the people in the rural area?
(5) Of what impact is the information diffused to the people by opinion leader in the ruler area?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The concepts defined in this project work will be of great use to student, journalist, media practitioners and anyone who which to know more about the role of opinion leaders in diffusion of information in the society.
It will also enable opinions leaders in the community to know their role and how their actions and belief will impact the character of people in the community.
1.6 Scope of The Study
This study looks into the role of opinion leaders in disseminating information and ideas on attitude, product, policy and social behaviour, to the general public. It critically examines the influence of opinion leader in the society. The writing of this project is to see effect of popular character on the beliefs and ideal of people leaving in Owo community.
This project should be considered from perspective only been purely academic and finding based on the response of the respondents.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
The following are the problem encountered during the research work.
1. TIME: The research of branding is a time consuming exercise for collection, analysis and preparation of its report Goods research takes time to plan and executed.
2. COST: It is very costly to plan and implement this assertion in view of the fact that make research require the use of human resources, other resources and considerable time for the execution.
3. EXACTNESS: To ensure the behaviour of human being, it is impossible to predict such behaviour with absolute exactness or accuracy.
4. UNRELIABLE DATA: Some primary, secondary data may be unreliable because of.
5. Gathering of all needed data in most studies is usually exercise for its research will be a limiting factor. A lot of money required to administer the questionnaire and time devoted to conduct interview based upon brooked appointment.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Appraisal: Is a generic terms that refers to the process of assessing, in a structured way, the case for proceeding with a project or proposal.
Opinion: Opinion leader is the agent who is an active media user and who interpret the meaning of media message or content for lower- end user.
Information: In its most restricted technical sense in an ordered sequence of symbol that record or transmit a message.
Disseminate: To disseminate, in term of the field of communication, means to broadcast message to the public without direct feedback from the audience.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
From the literature received it is clear that opinion leaders do affect information dissemination although they have a moderate effect. Informal opinion leaders may have a larger influence than formal opinion leaders, and negative opinion leaders may slow down the information diffusion. This study has shown that the traditional roles that have been identified in Owo Township and the literature do exist, but this study has shown that very few of the technology experts had any significant influence despite their formal role in the information dissemination process.
The ability of opinion leaders to influence decision-making may to be related to the development of group norms. Opinion leaders can be seen as repositories of organizational “know-how,” and this research implies that they are able to influence decision-making. This study showed that opinion leaders may have a decisive impact in local social environments.
With the review made by the researcher, on Appraisal of the role of Opinion leaders on information dissemination work on the concepts, measures, and strategies of two step flow of communication which is aimed at examining the impact of opinion-leaders in information dissemination in Nigeria with focus on Owo Township which was the case study. The recommendations are as follows
1. Opinion leaders’ campaigns should be used to catalyze wider political engagement on the issue and to promote sustainable people choices and behaviors.
2. It is also recommend that the people of Owo township including the educated and non-educated in the community should save to the impact of Opinion Leaders.
3. Beside, there must be a room for seminar or workshop for the people of Owo township in other to know their right and see opinion leader as a peace maker and intermediary between them and the media.
4. More so, Opinion Leaders should be young people, often with more education, higher income and higher occupational status.
It is found that the most central site people (“informal opinion leaders”) gave information to potential users during the diffusion. Their influence on utilization may be in developing or keeping with group norms. Do opinion leaders represent the norms of the group? If so, does negative opinion leadership mean that the group opposes the innovation? Once differing opinions become “fact” it could be more difficult to mitigate the impact on the group consensus regarding the technology’s efficacy. To address these questions, future information dissemination research could investigate the opinion leader role in more depth..