Where does news originate? When you receive news, do you receive it directly from the source? Most likely, your answer is no. Usually, we get our news from “in the know” people we follow — like bloggers, journalists, celebrities with similar views/values, etc. These people are called “opinion leaders” who serve as middlemen for news to move through the media to the public. To test this phenomenon, I made a commitment to bring attention to where I get my news — all different types of news — to see who my “opinion leaders” are and how I might be an opinion leader myself. Here’s what I found.
Disney fans — THE Figment Popcorn Bucket, need I say more?? As a Disney Cast Member, I “drank the KoolAid” if you will, years ago, and so the Disney Company and its news fill my social media sites. That being said, most of my Disney Parks news doesn’t actually come from the Walt Disney Company brand. This past week, with the start of the Festival of the Arts in Disney’s EPCOT, came the release of THE Figment popcorn bucket. As a disclaimer, I have never understood the hype behind Figment OR the popcorn buckets. But regardless, the craze that EPCOT saw the day of the bucket release was definitely newsworthy. The line to buy Figment stretched out to the front of the park, counting up to a 7–8 hour wait within a few hours of opening. All of the local Disney bloggers and journalists were quick to release their posts about the surprise hype, where the official Disney brand sites have yet to address it at all (my personal favorite Figment Bucket news source is @disneyfoodblog.) Even as a Cast Member, all of my information regarding the Figment Popcorn Bucket came from these “opinion leaders” and not from the Company directly.
As a Theme Park guru and as part of the Attractions Magazine team, the magazine’s social media sites serve as my news source (or opinion leader) of choice for all things Theme Park news. Our team spans from larger parks like Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, to smaller attractions like Dollywood, Icon Park, and others. I don’t usually feel the need to seek out theme park information from any other source, because Attractions Magazine is a team that I know and trust, and that I know cover all of the news I need.
When I looked at myself as an opinion leader, I think about a particular definition of the term — being “respected individuals in the community…the type of people that we interact with every day” (lessonbucket). I am in influencer for my friend’s Etsy business, GrumpsBowtique. I had never thought of myself as being an influential opinion leader for her, until I heard reviews from some of her clients that purchased her product because I had suggested it and worn it myself. As my followers on social media are all friends, they trust my opinion and listen when I recommend products I use personally. Additionally, I have thick, curly, unruly hair and am prone to migraines. When I review her products to my followers, I am able to speak as a qualified and experienced user, who likes her products for their ability to hold my hair in a sturdy but comfortable way that doesn’t break my hair or hurt my head. This makes me an influential opinion leader in the world of hair accessories amongst my friends and followers. It’s a little thing, but was eye opening to see myself as an opinion leader to others for a brand’s products that I support and believe in. They purchase the products only when they first see me advertise them and recommend them on my page.
See, we are all opinion leaders to friends, family, and social media followers that trust our views and opinions and look to us for news on topics we are passionate about. Just as I look to individuals like Disneyfoodblog and Attractions Magazine, I have people that look to me for news on GrumpsBowtique and the Disney brand. We are all influencERS and influencED!