Guest Talk: Strategic opinion leaders: A “just-in-time” approach to a politically informed citizenry

Join us on Friday, February 27, at 2:15 for the guest talk by Elizabeth Dubois (University of Oxford’s Internet Institute) on political opinion leaders on social media. The talk is hosted by the Social Media Lab at Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University. See details below.


Title: Strategic opinion leaders: A “just-in-time” approach to a politically informed citizenry

by Elizabeth Dubois (University of Oxford’s Internet Institute)

Date: Friday, February 27, at 2:15-3:30 (EDT)


Abstract: In a hybrid media system characterized by the blurring of boundaries across political players and increased tools for accessing and sharing information, digitally enabled opinion leaders play a crucial political role. These opinion leaders are among the most politically tuned in citizens, deliver political information to the general public and are seen as vessels of public opinion. This study makes use of a sequential mixed-methods approach (social network analysis, online survey, trace interviews) in order to assess the patterns and motivations driving channel choice among digitally enabled opinion leaders. When equipped with a wide selection of digital tools to aid them in their information sourcing and sharing practices opinion leaders take up a strategic approach to communication. This strategic approach means that the minority of citizens who are highly politically aware limit their political communications to non-aware audiences to times of heightened political tension. This work brings into question both theories of social influence as well as the ways in which the citizenry becomes politically informed on a day to day basis.


Elizabeth Dubois is a doctoral candidate in Information, Communication and the Social Sciences at the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute. Her work investigates everyday political chat, political influencers, and social media. She is a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow and Clarendon Scholar currently visiting the Ryerson School of Professional Communications and the University of Toronto’s iSchool. Elizabeth has worked in politics, government and with various NGOs.