In today’s capitalist system, media organizations that do not look much different from other profit–oriented institutions; Convey specific values and beliefs to the masses through messages and symbols. These organizations determine what will be selected as news and how it will be published. It is difficult to say that the individual can freely choose in the face of the media. Individuals are guided about what to read in which newspaper and magazine, and what to watch on which television channel.
Appropriate messages are delivered to target audiences using “Audience Management” techniques through mass media, which are considered to have powerful effects; It is ensured that people are directed towards the targets determined in line with their wishes and needs. The desired goal can be achieved when the power of the mass media, the mass characteristics of the societies, and the “Audience Management” techniques are used correctly. Besides the press, television, and radio framework of Audience Management, technological tools such as the internet and social media are used. The psychological power of the media on the masses is effective in the direction of “perceptions.” Realizing the power of the press over the masses with the globalization process, the capital owners started to transfer their investments to the information field. This situation caused the news structure to change, and news began to be seen as a commercial commodity. As a result of this, the word is disinformation and often manipulated.
Media organizations, which have essential missions such as informing society and creating public opinion, have adopted a new understanding of journalism to increase their ratings and circulation, often putting their primary duties in the background. In this context, it has been frequently discussed how much the messages conveyed to the masses from the media organizations, which have a say in the regulation of the meaning world of societies, reflect reality.
Crowds of people can exhibit dangerous behaviors, but they can also be surprisingly rational. So scientists study how the masses behave and try to find ways to prevent deadly events in the future.
In 2017, we encountered this at a football stadium in Angola, a square in Italy, and a food distribution center in Morocco.
Such tragic events are often preventable. Scientists from the UK and worldwide are working to prevent these from happening again.
Experts say that most human behavior is predictable because humans are rational beings. Thanks to this predictability, it may be possible to direct how people act in an area and by changes in the environment.
According to John Drury, a crowd management social psychologist at the University of Sussex, “The audience, like the individual, has a unique psychology.”
The resulting psychological findings were applied to riots in the 1980s, emergencies in the 2000s, and music festivals and events in the 2010s. Nowadays, mass psychology is used for emergencies specific to chemical, biological, radioactive, and nuclear attacks.
Studies of psychologists and disaster experts show that a collective identity often emerges in emergencies. This identity is essential in determining how cooperative and resistant a specific audience will be in certain circumstances. For example, in the interviews made with the survivors of the bombing attacks in London on 7 July 2005, many examples of cooperation and solidarity among the members of the mass who were exposed to the attack were described.
“We shouldn’t do anything that would undermine the emergence of this shared social identity,” Drury says. The mass identity takes precedence over other identities. It doesn’t help to divide the crowd by ethnicity or religion to make it easier to manage.
It is necessary to understand the rules of audiences with specific characteristics. Take, for example, the crowds of people who go to punk and metal concerts. These groups have rules that outsiders are not aware of. People who handle mass security need to be mindful of this.
Otherwise, if they find their various behaviors risky and try to intervene using physical force, a dangerous situation arises. This happened in the Hillsborough stadium disaster in England in 1989; 96 people died. Officials and police tried to keep the masses in specific compartments and badly affected the course of events.
Psychologically, we should also not exaggerate the dangers of the crowd. While disasters are rare, the media and popular culture exaggerate these dangers. For example, for a striking expression, “panic” is used instead of “rapid evacuation.” However, cases of mass panic are rare.
If people believe that others will panic in a crowd, they will panic themselves, even if there is no real danger.
Despite scientific advances in crowd management, there is still a long way to go. According to University of Kent psychologist Anne Templeton, many crowd simulations do not consider the interaction of the individual people who are part of that crowd.
The “physical crowd” (a group of people in the same field) and the “psychological crowd” (where people have a common identity) must be managed differently. Templeton says that “psychological crowds will march slower and farther to get members closer together.”
Deriving various models from the data will ensure that such factors, which are challenging to see, are included in the scenario plans.
In short, crowds have a very complex and sophisticated structure. As a result, understanding crowd management methods and developing techniques is advancing rapidly.