Vivien Zschammer: Aspects of political opinion-forming through social media influencing

In this dissertation project, the role of political influencers as potential digital opinion leaders is examined. The focus is on associated aspects such as credibility, role self-image and journalistic diligence.

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The aim of the dissertation is to examine the role of influencers as digital opinion leaders and to clarify whether credibility factors established in marketing or the well-known trust criteria of news journalism can be transferred to political influencers, as it were, or which quality criteria are valid from the user's perspective. In addition, the role self-image of political influencers will be examined and with it the question of the extent to which political influencers distance themselves from professional journalism and the legal regulations on due diligence obligations, or whether these are applicable to lay journalists at all. 

Due to the heterogeneous research approach, the planned dissertation will be processed with the help of the mixed methods approach. In addition to conducting key question interviews to determine credibility factors and the role self-image of political influencers, a content analysis of selected political social media accounts will be used to examine the regulations on due diligence obligations.

  • Project lead: Vivien Zschammer
  • Contact: vivien.zschammer(at)
  • CV: Vivien Zschammer studied media management at the University of Applied Sciences in Leipzig and currently works as an academic assistant in the field of media law and media theory in Leipzig. Due to the university of applied sciences background, the dissertation project is being implemented as a cooperative project between the Babelsberg Film University and the HTWK Leipzig.
  • PhD Advisors: 
  • Scientific PhD in the discipline:  Media Studies