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Friday, March 7, 2014

How to Gatekeep in Agenda-Setting Theory

From e-how Money (click here)

How to Gatekeep in Agenda-Setting Theory thumbnail
Gatekeepers control the flow and feel of information in order to promote an agenda.
Among communication theorists, the term "gatekeeper" describes someone who performs strategic filtering actions that limit or refine people's access to information or education. Sometimes this is a good thing, and a public service. For example, TV programmers act as gatekeepers, striving to bring content to the small screen that viewers will find entertaining or informative, but that will stop short of tedious or offensive material. In order to perform effectively, a gatekeeper must be in a position to control key aspects of mass communication.


  1. Preparing to Manage Information Flow

    • 1
      Prioritize important elements of the message. The objective is to set an agenda: corporate, political or social. So you must specifically and clearly designate which items of information are to receive focus, and which are to be subordinated.
    • 2
      Limit and simplify the flow of information to the target audience. Extensive research has shown that most people can entertain no more three abstractideas at a time, and still be able to recall and integrate the new information with other knowledge. Gatekeepers must limit information flow to carefully focused, mutually reinforcing storylines, or the audience will become overwhelmed and confused.
    • 3
      Manage the timing. The gatekeeper must ensure there is a steady, substantial flow of information, in order to retain people's interest, and build momentum for the agenda the gatekeeper is trying to set.

    Evaluating the Outcomes of Agenda Setting

    • 4
      Evaluate outcomes of your gatekeeper strategy continuously. Gauge yoursuccess and adjust message delivery and content, in order to sustain your agenda-setting objectives over time. Remember, there is always more than one gatekeeper trying to set the agenda.
    • 5
      Use short-game evaluation tools and techniques to get immediate feedback. Polling, focus groups and social media are all effective barometers of consumer perceptions.
    • 6
      Exercise reputation-monitoring tools rigorously. Agenda setting is an adversarial sport, and negative social media buzz can rapidly derail your efforts. Maintain awareness about what is being said online about you, your message and your brand.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cloud-based polling utilities like SurveyMonkey can help track deep trends in agenda adoption or rejection.
  • Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and YouTube can effectively amplify a message stream aimed at agenda setting.
  • Increasingly, people are sophisticated about the sources from which they credulously accept information. Heavy-handed gatekeeping can create backlashes that damage brand identity and alienate audiences.

Read more: How to Gatekeep in Agenda-Setting Theory |


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