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Two-step Flow in the Digital Age. Opinion Leaders on Twitter

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Seminar paper from the year 2018 in the subject Communications - Research, Studies, Enquiries, grade: 1,3, Free University of Berlin (Publizistik und Kommunikationswissenschaft), language: English, abstract: This paper provides a theoretical background of Lazarsfeld's "Two-step Flow of Communication" and the debates around the validity of his ...
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Seminar paper from the year 2018 in the subject Communications - Research, Studies, Enquiries, grade: 1,3, Free University of Berlin (Publizistik und Kommunikationswissenschaft), language: English, abstract: This paper provides a theoretical background of Lazarsfeld's "Two-step Flow of Communication" and the debates around the validity of his theory in the digital era. It focuses on two Twitter studies conducted in the recent year, it presents and evaluates the results. Since its formulation, the theory of the two-step flow of communication has been tested and validated, on numerous occasions through replicative studies, conducted on different topics. However, changes in technology in the past decade, especially the proliferation of web-based media such as blogs, online communities and social networks, have led to reassess the validity of the theory in relation to the new media environment.Thanks to the Internet individuals can communicate instantly across geographic boundaries to one, few or many people. Social networking sites enable individuals to express opinions on any topic and instantly share them with others. The contemporary (social) media environment has renewed interest in the concept of two-step flow generally, and opinion leadership specifically. Several researches have been conducted to investigate if the model can still be explanatory of the flow of news and interactions occurring online on web platforms and social media.The purpose of this work is to present the actual stand of the research and discuss the main findings of the studies led by the questions: is the two-step flow still relevant as a theorical framework? How does information flow from traditional media to their audience in the digital age? Are opinion leaders still playing a role in this process?In the first chapters, a theoretical framework of the most discussed communication theories will be provided.
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