Keywords : Digital opinion leader

Exploring the Transformation of Opinion Leaders from a Traditional to a Digital Mindset

Emre Vadi Balci; Salih Tiryaki; Melis Karakuş

International Journal of Organizational Leadership, 2022, Volume 11, Issue Special Issue 2022, Pages 36-50
DOI: 10.33844/ijol.2022.60338

The advancements in the field of communication concurrently transpire throughout the evolution of the Internet and its accompanying tools. A free communication opportunity over the internet platform has resulted in the involvement of a sizable people mass in this digital environment. Individuals also pose variations in communication styles since Web 2.0 technology promotes interpersonal connection and communication. Such variations have resulted in modification and deformation in the Two-Stage Flow Theory, which is among the traditional communication models. According to the conventional definition, opinion leaders have the force to potentially influence society with their respective approaches and responses to various events and cases. They have revived alongside the changing media contexts. The transition in these platforms proceeds beyond the change in technology since they facilitate a significant portion of social change. Nowadays, opinion leaders appeal to eventuate social change since they have the potential to convey to a sizable mass of internet users. The vast majority of internet users are influenced by the attitudes and accessions of new opinion leaders while making decisions on their social life, political issues, products, and personal investments. On the one hand, people, groups, companies, and political structures that are aware of the indulgent aspects of the opinion leaders try to persuade them; on the other hand, these entities seek to generate their opinion leaders and forge a follower mass for them. The purpose of the study was to assess the concept of an opinion leader introduced by the Two-Stage Flow Theory and the new context in which it has emerged in light of the elaboration of modern communication technology. The study findings revealed that the Internet and its accompanying tools differed the recent opinion leaders from traditional ones; however, the most critical pillar of this differentiation was digital domains where opinion leaders appeal to large masses composed of different layers.