This section is from the book "Principles Of Sociology With Educational Applications", by Frederick R. Clow. Also available from Amazon: Principles of sociology with educational applications.
Popular impression is the form the social mind takes with reference to matters of small importance, or to those of slight and passing interest. The average person receives communications every day on a great variety of subjects.
They come chiefly from two sources, newspapers and light conversation, but in either case the subject matter is what the newspapers call "news." There is time to look critically into only a few of these many communications, yet each one makes an impression on the mind. If the subject matter is of small importance or only passing interest, communications on it will soon cease, leaving the first superficial impression to be the final one for a long time, and perhaps for always. Yet the stream of new communications, of some kind or another, runs on continuously in fairly constant volume; the newspapers have about the same amount of space to fill each week and each of us indulges in hearing and delivering about the same amount of small talk. And so there is continually forming in each individual mind, around the core of definite knowledge, a wide fringe of mere impressions which are only rudimentary or inaccurate knowledge. In the fringes of many individual minds popular impression has its existence. On the new topic of the day it is quickly formed, and also easily changed as long as attention is held; but once attention is lost, as it soon must be, whatever impression remains becomes exceedingly difficult to change.