Online opinion leaders in the health promotion digital era

Cheah, Joyce Lynn-Sze and Azlina Kamaruddin, (2021) Online opinion leaders in the health promotion digital era. Jurnal Komunikasi ; Malaysian Journal of Communication, 37 (4). pp. 295-309. ISSN 0128-1496


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Health opinion leaders have widely embraced social media for health promotion and public health communication which can make a strong influence on the public decision making. However, despite the growing relevance of public health threats such as infectious diseases, pandemic influenza and natural disasters, research has paid little attention to the qualities of opinion leaders. Moreover, there is limited evidence that public health organisations use social media appropriately to engage in meaningful conversations with audiences. Thus, the aims of the study are to describe principles of communication practised by online opinion leaders to promote health issues, to discuss the strategies of social media used, to explain the opinion leaders’ influence attributes in health decision making and finally to develop a model of online opinion leader in the contemporary health promotion era. Content analysis was conducted on Facebook postings of five selected health opinion leaders. In addition, semi-structured interviews with 10 followers were conducted. The findings of the study revealed that there are three principles of communication practised by online opinion leaders, which are language, interaction and themes. There are three strategies opinion leaders use to influence the public: social connectivity, social support and social consultation. Furthermore, there are five opinion leaders’ attributes that influence the public’s decision making, namely personality, authenticity, trust/credibility, professional knowledge and social position. The model would be beneficial in educating and guiding the current public health opinion leaders in order to establish health and social well-being.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Online opinion leader; Online health communication; Public health; Two-step flow theory; Decision making
Journal:Jurnal Komunikasi ; Malaysian Journal of Communication
ID Code:18721
Deposited By: ms aida -
Deposited On:26 May 2022 06:53
Last Modified:31 May 2022 08:51

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