A Two-Step Flow of Influence? Opinion-Leader Campaigns on Climate Change.

In this article, we review concepts, measures, and strategies that can be applied to opinion-leader campaigns on climate change. From past research, we outline six relevant categories of self-designated opinion-leaders, detailing issues related to identification, recruitment, training, message development, and coordination. We additionally analyze as prominent initiatives Al Gore’s The Climate Project and his more recent We campaign, which combines the recruitment of digital opinion-leaders with traditional media strategies. In evaluating digital opinion-leader campaigns, we conclude that there are likely to be significant trade-offs in comparison to face-to-face initiatives. The challenge for both scholars and practitioners is to understand under what conditions are digital opinion-leaders effective and in which ways can online interactions strengthen or build on real-world connections.
 
Authors: Matthew C. Nisbet and John E. Kotcher

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