Social influencers are social media users with a large number of followers on several social media platforms. Due to this great public magnitude they have become celebrities who can be used for commercial purposes by both companies and stand-alone advertisers. Therefore, social influencers most of the time represent or promote a certain brand or product. Social influencers are often specialized in subjects that are related to lifestyle, beauty, fashion, food and games. Additionally, they share their life, interests and thoughts with their followers. They do this, among other things, by means of a vlog. Vlogs can be described as video diary entries that reflect the life of the vlogger. Until recently politics seemed to be a topic that social influencers do not talk about in their vlogs, however during the Dutch parliamentary elections in 2017 some social influencers did mention politics in their vlogs. Social influencers serve as a reliable source for their audience, which mainly consists of young people who lack political involvement. It is, therefore, interesting to see how social influencers present politics to this specific audience. This research aims to explore the way social influencers talk about politics in their vlogs. The research question how social influencers present politics to their audience during the parliamentary elections in 2017 has been answered by using both quantitative content analysis and qualitative content analysis. This research shows that a marginal number of social influencers talk about politics in their vlogs. The social influencers that do talk about politics are talking about this subject in four different ways. They present politics as fun, talk about politics in a positive manner, and playful way. Additionally, social influencers are critical about politics. It seems that they lost faith in politics, and they therefore have an indifferent and negative attitude towards it. Moreover, social influencers are reserved when they mention politics. They do not express their political preference and state that is unusual to talk about politics in their vlogs. Lastly, they motivate their followers by urging them to vote and inform themselves about politics. When talking about politics in these four different ways, social influencers show journalistic characteristics. They are independent, impartial and speak about politics in an objective manner. They also promote politics in a similar way to celebrity endorsement.

Additional Metadata
Keywords media, journalistiek, social influencers, vlogs, vlogging, YouTube, social media, user generated content, politics, political communication, decentralization, mediatization, media, journalism, celebrity, endorsement
Thesis Advisor C. Aalberts
Persistent URL hdl.handle.net/2105/46704
Series Media & Journalistiek
Citation
C. van den Boomgaard. (2018, June 25). ‘Duimpje omhoog’ voor politiek? Een onderzoek naar de rol van social influencers in politieke communicatie. Media & Journalistiek. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/46704