The strength of no-tie relationships: Political leaders’ Instagram posts and their followers’ actions and views
Drawing on research into electronic word-of-mouth communication, tie strength, and homophily, this study examines the actions of those who follow political leaders on Instagram as well as followers’ perceptions of the influence leaders’ posts have on their political views. The influence of leaders’ posts, as measured by a survey of followers, was also compared with strong-tie sources of opinion leadership, such as friends and family, and weak-tie sources, including co-workers and acquaintances. Findings indicate that posts from leaders whom followers usually agree with are seen as influencing followers’ views more than any other source, which is noteworthy given the nonexistent nature of the relationship. Implications for the study of tie strength on social media are also discussed.
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