Virtual Opinion Leaders and Opinion Change: An Examination of Blogging through the Framework of the Two-step Flow of Communication
The introduction of a new medium provides an opportunity for scholars to revisit existing theories of mass communication. Blogging is a medium that has grown tremendously in recent years, from just a few dozen blogs in 1999 to more than 42 million blogs today. One function of blogging is providing opinion and commentary on news from the mainstream media. In this way bloggers act as intermediaries, much in the same way Lazarsfeld described opinion leaders in his two-step flow of information theory. This research examined blogging from the framework of the two-step flow to see if readers looked to bloggers as opinion leaders. Results showed that bloggers were not opinion leaders and blogs were perceived as less credible than mainstream media sources, but that blogs do play a role in opinion consideration and opinion reinforcement.
blogs, mass media, public opinion
Quackenbush, D. (2006). Virtual opinion leaders and opinion change: An examination of blogging through the framework of the two-step flow of communication (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.