In his book, Global Communication: Theories, Stakeholders, and Trends, Thomas McPhail defines the CNN effect as "the process by which the coverage of a foreign event by CNN causes that event to be a primary concern for its audience, which in turn forces the [U.S.] federal government to act." See video clip.
One could add to this process how the U.S. government may influence foreign governments/peoples through direct action (e.g., war) or through sanctions.
Does CNN still have this influence on foreign policy? Any other news networks, U.S. or otherwise, have this influence? Any other form of media now has this influence? Think: Arab Spring (see first 2 minutes). Think: Kony2012 (see short clip). What role does social media play in shaping foreign policy? How's that process work?
The "social media effect" is defined here as the process by which the coverage of an event on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. causes that event to be a primary concern for its audiences around the world, which in turn forces foreign governments to act, thus further influencing the event.
See clip below for more the idea of social media effect.
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