Who sets the news agenda on “Chinese Twitter”? The relationships between the media and opinion leaders on Weibo
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Within the theoretical framework of agenda setting, this dissertation used granger causality analysis to examine the relationships between news agendas of the media outlets and opinion leaders on one Chinese social network platform—Weibo. It also utilized network analysis to compare agenda-setting effects between the media outlets and opinion leaders in crisis and non-crisis news. The study not only applied agenda setting to Chinese social media, but it also approached the agenda-setting effects of social media from a completely different perspective, recognizing and differentiating the segmented agendas on social media platforms. It examined more nuanced agenda-setting effects among the most influential groups on social media platforms, determining and comparing the news agendas of these groups. The results showed agenda-setting effects exist only between the opinion leaders and commercial media outlets rather than the official media in China. Although journalists and celebrities tended to be the most influential ones on Twitter, business elites were the most influential opinion leader on Weibo. Furthermore, the agenda-setting process among these opinion leaders changed in crisis and non-crisis news.