Led it on Reddit: An exploratory study examining opinion leadership on Reddit

  • Danielle K Kilgo University of Texas at Austin
  • Joseph J. Yoo University of Texas
  • Vinicio Sinta University of Texas
  • Stephanie Geise University of Erfut
  • Melissa Suran University of Texas
  • Thomas J Johnson Thomas J. Johnson is the Amon G. Carter Jr. Centennial Professor in the School of Journalism at University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include new media and political communication, particularly the political uses and effects of social and other new media.
Keywords: opinion leadership, Reddit, social networking, annonymity, social media

Abstract

Is it possible to identify opinion leaders in a semi-anonymous online network? To answer this question, this study examines the social news site Reddit to determine whether opinion leadership can be recognized in an online network that, at face value, does not allow users to associate with their off-line personas. Identifiable characteristics, such as commenting, longevity, karma scores, posting frequency, and posting scores were analyzed. Results indicate that semi-anonymous opinion leadership may exist, as several users appear frequently as top-voted posters and commenters. In addition, Reddit’s reputational value karma may help users and researchers identify opinion leaders.

Author Biographies

Danielle K Kilgo, University of Texas at Austin

Danielle Kilgo is a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include visual communication, media effects and minority studies. Danielle’s work appears in Digital Journalism, Journalism Studies, and the International Journal of Communication.

Joseph J. Yoo, University of Texas

Joseph Jai-sung Yoo is a doctoral candidate in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. His research areas of interest include political communication, telecommunication policy, especially regarding net neutrality, network analysis, and sports communication.

Vinicio Sinta, University of Texas

Vinicio Sinta is a doctoral student in the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin. His research centers on ethnic-oriented news media, with a focus on U.S. Latinos/as.

Stephanie Geise, University of Erfut

Stephanie Geise is an assistant profesor at the University of Erfut. Her research interest include visual communication.

Melissa Suran, University of Texas

Melissa Suran is a doctoral candidate at The University of Texas at Austin. She earned a Master of Science degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Suran’s work has appeared in four books and several publications, including the American Journal of Infection Control, the Chicago Sun-Times, Crain's Chicago Business, EMBO Reports, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Kaiser Health News, Moment Magazine, and The Tennessean.

Published
2016-08-14
How to Cite
Kilgo, D. K., Yoo, J. J., Sinta, V., Geise, S., Suran, M., & Johnson, T. J. (2016). Led it on Reddit: An exploratory study examining opinion leadership on Reddit. First Monday, 21(9). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v21i9.6429