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The Korean Society for Journalism & Communication Studies - Vol. 65 , No. 2

[ Article ]
Korean Journal of Journalism & Communication Studies - Vol. 65, No. 2, pp. 41-74
Abbreviation: KSJCS
ISSN: 2586-7369 (Online)
Print publication date 30 Apr 2021
Received 07 Feb 2021 Accepted 22 Mar 2021 Revised 31 Mar 2021

한국 사회 의견지도자 인식과 메시지 설득력, 의견지도자의 유형별 차이
*단국대학교 자유교양대학 강사, 서울대학교 언론정보연구소 객원연구원 (

Recognition and Persuasiveness of Opinion Leaders, and Difference by Type
Jihee Kim**
*Lecturer, Dankook University, Researcher, Institute of Communication Research, SNU (
Funding Information ▼


커뮤니케이션학에서 의견지도자가 학술적 관심의 대상이 된 것은 20세기 중반 대중매체가 확산되던 시기부터이다. 특히 카츠와 라자스펠트는 20세기 중반 대중매체의 영향력을 연구하며 사회적 여론에 영향을 미치는 사람들이 존재한다는 사실에 주목하며 이단계 유통이론을 제안했다. 그렇다면 인터넷과 모바일 미디어를 자유롭게 이용하는 현대 한국사회에서 시민들은 어떤 인물을 의견지도자라고 인식하고, 무엇에 근거하여 의견지도자의 설득력을 평가하고 있을까? 연구결과 사람들이 의견지도자라고 인식하는 데 가장 중요한 요인은 커뮤니케이터의 ‘에토스’ 측면, 즉 매력과 공신력으로 나타났다. 그리고 의견지도자 메시지의 설득력을 예측하는 데 중요한 요인은 커뮤니케이터의 ‘의사소통 능력’, 즉 소통반응성과 소통통제성인 것으로 나타났다. 또한 의견지도자를 세 가지 유형으로 나누어 분석해 보았을 때, 독립변수들 영향력은 다른 패턴을 보여주었는데, 전통엘리트, 매체유명인, 매체활동형 리더가 각각 의견지도자로 인식되기 위해, 그리고 의견지도자로서 설득력을 증대시키기 위해 필요한 요건이 각각 다르다는 결과를 도출할 수 있다.


In communication studies, the concept of opinion leaders became the subject of academic interest along with the growth of mass media in the mid-20th century. In particular, Katz and Lazarsfeld focused on media influence, noting that there were people who shape public opinion. Then, who are the opinion leaders active nowadays in Korea? Whom do citizens recognize as opinion leaders, and what are the factors that determine the public evaluation of the extent to which an opinion leader is persuasive? Since the advent of the mass media, we have experienced radio and television, the Internet in the 2000s, and social media platforms in the 2010s. With changes in the media environment, we realized that each time a new medium appeared, it had a great influence on the way people communicated, and the way the public perceived influential people could also change. The emergence of a new medium requires the opinion leader to use the appropriate media. Therefore, as media technology develops, the rhetoric that persuades the public can be expected to be different from the past.

In order to measure opinion leaders, I identified five variables—① media activity, ② credibility, ③ attractiveness, ④ communication responsibility, and ⑤ communication controllability—as attributes of the opinion leader. Results of analyzing two dependent variables using the same independent variable found that the most important variable in recognizing opinion leaders was ‘attractiveness’ and that the most important factor affecting the opinion leader's message persuasion was ‘communication ability'. While influence of the traditional elite played a large role in our society in the past, it can be seen that in modern society, the credibility and attractiveness of a person is an important requirement to be recognized as an opinion leader, and the communication ability of a person is an important requirement to persuade others.

In addition, I divided the opinion leaders into three types according to the source from which they were obtained. As a result of the study, the influence of the independent variable showed different patterns according to the three types of opinion leaders. In other words, it can be interpreted that traditional elites, media celebrities, and media-active leaders each hold different virtues that are necessary to be recognized as opinion leaders and to increase opinion leadership. Finally, the key conclusion of this study is that the decisive factor in people's perception of opinion leaders is the 'ethos' aspect of the communicator and that the important factor in predicting the persuasiveness of a character's message is the communicator's 'communication ability'. Understanding the factors affecting the perception of opinion leaders and the factors affecting the persuasiveness of opinion leaders can serve as an opportunity to rethink the communication of leaders in Korean society.

KeywordsOpinion Leader, Persuasiveness, Traditional Elite, Celebrity, Media-Communicative Leader
키워드: 의견지도자, 설득력, 전통엘리트, 셀러브리티, 매체활동형 리더


This research is based on the author’s 2020 Ph.D dissertation and is supported by Institute of Communication Research, SNU. 이 연구는 저자의 서울대학교 언론정보학과 박사학위논문(2020)에 근거하여 작성되었으며, 2021년 언론정보연구소의 연구지원을 받았습니다.

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