Online influence? Social media use, opinion leadership, and political persuasion

Brian E. Weeks, Alberto Ardèvol-Abreu, Homero Gil De Zúñiga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

233 Scopus citations


Opinion leaders can be influential in persuading their peers about news and politics, yet their potential influence has been questioned in the social media era. This study tests a theoretical model of attempts at political persuasion within social media in which highly active users (‘‘prosumers’’) consider themselves opinion leaders, which subsequently increases efforts to try and change others’ political attitudes and behaviors. Using two-wave U.S. panel survey data (W1 = 1,816; W2 = 1,024), we find prosumers believe they are highly influential in their social networks and are both directly and indirectly more likely to try to persuade others. Our results highlight one theoretical mechanism through which engaged social media users attempt to persuade others and suggest personal influence remains viable within social media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-239
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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