Identifying opinion leaders in twitter during social events: Social impact theory from influencer's perspective

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Conference Proceeding

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In this paper, we explore the characteristics of opinion leaders in social media during a social event - Iran Nuclear Deal, 2018. By extending social impact theory, we conceptualize informational social impact and examine behavioral attributes of opinion leaders. We propose four dimensions of informational social impact: 1) strength of sources, 2) temporal immediacy of sources, 3) social immediacy of sources, and 4) social media commitment. We then use these attributes to predict opinion leaders during the event. Our results provide support for the legitimacy of the last three dimensions. Specifically, we suggest that opinion leaders rely on information seeking, rather than social standing, and use their expertise to exert influence. Also, we claim that opinion leaders occur in the early stages of social events. This work is novel, as we apply social impact theory to modeling informational social impact from influencer's perspective. Finally, we provide theoretical and practical implications.

Publication Title

Proceedings - 2019 4th International Conference on Communication and Information Systems, ICCIS 2019

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