User Engagement in Public Discourse on GMOs: Role of Social Media Opinion Leaders
Dr. Qian Xu, Associate Professor of Communications and Associate Director of Undergraduate Research, Elon University (link, email)
This study adopted a quantitative content analysis to examine how source attributes of opinion leaders and their message framing influenced user engagement in the public discourse of genetically modified organisms on Chinese social media. The findings showed that different source attributes and message frames used by opinion leaders varied in their respective influences on three dimensions of user engagement—reposts, comments, and likes. The attribute of account verification only predicted surface-level engagement (i.e., liking), whereas account type significantly influenced in-depth engagement (i.e., reposting and commenting). The fact, opportunity, pro-GMO, and international frames positively predicted user engagement.
Qian Xu is an associate professor in the School of Communications at Elon University. She received her Ph.D. from the College of Communications at the Pennsylvania State University. Her recent research interests focus on the social and psychological effects of media technology in the context of science communication, health communication, and online persuasion. Her research has been published in Science Communication, Journal of Communication, Mass Communication and Society, Communication Research, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Media Psychology, Computers in Human Behavior, and International Journal of Communication, among others. Her research projects have been funded by the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication and several internal grants at Elon University.