Analysis of the Applicability of “the Spiral of Silence” in Weibo

Chaoran Jia


“The spiral of silence” theory was first funded by Professor Elizabeth Noelle Neumann in 1972. This theory indicates that, if a person feels that his opinion is belonging to minority, he is less likely to express it, because he is afraid of being retaliated or isolated by majority. This theory assumes that people are always estimating what the public opinion is, and they often judge it through the media. The theory also assumes that we have an inherent fear of isolation and that we know what perspectives can lead us to isolation by majority. This theory also explains why there are always such minority groups in the society and they dare to raise different opinions. With the flash development of the Internet, more and more self media have broken the old pattern of mass media as the information publisher. So it is a big question whether “the spiral of silence” theory is still applicable to the Internet environment. This paper, from the perspective of the basic hypothesis and core theory of “the spiral of silence”, focuses on whether the theory is applicable to the communicative behavior in We-Media.

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