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Sunday, September 15 • 3:21pm - 3:40pm
“An ethnographic study of the re-conceptualization of opinion leadership via Twitter amongst Egyptian revolutionaries in the post-Jan25 revolution era”

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The 25th of January Egyptian revolution provides a culture-in-the-making context. The incomplete moment is worth documentation. As the whole Egyptian society's constant concepts are challenged, media studies are facing the challenge of dealing with the sophisticated sphere of communication; the empowered fragmented audience, new media tools including the social networks, and most importantly updating media-audience relationship theories. Among the cultural changes is the appearance of the so-called, the "Global Generation;" as stated by Addel A. Shah and Sheheryar T. Sardar. Segment of the Egyptian population belong to this generation. They left Tahrir Square (and its counterparts all over Egypt) packed with the Tahririan spirit and style of communication which is based on equality, freedom of expression, objectivity, transparency, and the collective actions. As Tweeps, those users challenged the old perceptions about media means audience/users. 

This study applies the two-step-flow-of-information model within an ethnographic approach (Being There) to explore the two-step-flow of information model for reconceptualizing opinion leadership via Twitter in the post-Jan25 revolution era. The study is inspired by the 25th of January revolution that shacked many of the taken-forgranted theories and concepts. As an Egyptian researcher, conducting this paper aims at providing an academic paper representing a closer look, more real at the doers of the so-called Arab Spring. 

The study belongs to the new trend in media-audience studies claiming that with media convergence, 'the user is the tool,' and 'the sender becomes the message.' The data collection tools are (a) seven months of participant-observation conducted on a purposive sample of approximately 400 Egyptian tweeps, (b) online semi-structured interviews conducted with a purposive sub-sample of eighteen tweeps, and (c) seventy online questionnaires. 

Four major concepts were domestically examined; opinion leaders, leaders-followers relationship, linear versus circular flow-of-information, and the role of Twitter in the flow-of-information in post-Jan25 revolution era. 

avatar for Hend Abd Almotagally

Hend Abd Almotagally

Lecturer Assistant, Cairo University
Cairo University, Egypt

Sunday September 15, 2013 3:21pm - 3:40pm EDT
ROWE 1020

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