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News in Social Media. Incidental consumption and the role of opinion leaders.

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Annika Bergström
Maria Jervelycke Belfrage
Publicerad i Digital Journalism
Volym 6
Nummer/häfte 5
Sidor 583-598
ISSN 2167-0811
Publiceringsår 2018
Publicerad vid Institutionen för journalistik, medier och kommunikation (JMG)
Sidor 583-598
Språk en
Länkar https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.20...
Ämnesord incidental consumption, interview study, news use, opinion leaders, representative survey, social media
Ämneskategorier Medievetenskap, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap


Social network sites are becoming essential to how people experience news. The social media feed is made up of a mixture of private and public postings, and news is intertwined with all sorts of activities. What people are exposed to partly depends on the behaviour of their fellow networkers. Drawing on theories of opinion leaders and the concept of incidental news consumption, this article examines news-gathering on social media using a combination of representative survey data and qualitative interviews with young people aged 16–19. Regression analysis of the survey data reveals the primary factor explaining use of news on social media is the habit of using online news services. Interest in news and age also contribute to this phenomenon. The qualitative study reveals that interviewees’ news consumption through social networks is frequent. While incidental, they nonetheless seem to count on being informed through this medium. There is a widespread presence of opinion leaders in the respondents’ social media feeds, bringing attention to news they otherwise would have missed, and just as important, delivering interpretation and context. The study also indicates that these opinion leaders are perceived as central or even crucial to the news-gathering process.

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