Special Issue "Influencers: Media Competence and Global Citizenship"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ignacio Aguaded
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Education, Universidad de Huelva, Avenida de la Fuerzas Armadas, S/N, 21007 Huelva, Spain, España
Interests: educommunication; digital competence; media competence; social networks; YouTubers; Instagrammers
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. César Bernal-Bravo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Education Sciences, Language, Culture and Arts, Rey Juan Carlos University, Paseo Artilleros s/n, 28032 Madrid, Spain
Interests: digital citizenship; citizenship education; didactics of social sciences; innovation in social sciences; use of ICTs in social sciences
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Mari-Carmen Caldeiro-Pedreira
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Pedagogy and Didactic, Santiago University (Campus Lugo), Lugo, Spain
Interests: ICT; media literacy; digital competence; education; cyber bullying; adolescent

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleague,

Society today is significantly different from the past due to the profound changes in the interactions that people have with media every day. The development of the Internet and the advances of the web have enabled a multidirectional communication in which citizens can, in addition to using media, consume and produce with them, with what this implies, mainly for consumption, coexistence, behavior models, leadership, and sociopolitical relations.

This multiform connection space for the consumption of news, learning, leisure, communication, interpersonal relationships, and collective intelligence is defining in a culture of media convergence and participation, which in a transversal way is influencing behaviors and social perceptions.

According to several international organizations (UNESCO, UN, UNICEF, Council of Europe, European Parliament) and the STATE RESEARCH AGENCY—2018 Calls KNOWLEDGE GENERATION R&D Projects and R&D Research Challenges SCIENTIFIC-TECHNICAL MEMORY OF INDIVIDUAL PROJECTS, it is necessary to analyze the perceptions, attitudes, and behavior of the population in the use of digital platforms, particularly those with the greatest global penetration: YouTube and Instagram.

YouTube is the free platform with the highest penetration, with 167.4 million monthly active users in the United States, 69.5 in Brazil, 47.4 in Russia, 46.8 in Japan, and 18.7 in Spain according to data published from the first quarter of 2016 (https://bit.ly/2CzrBVm). This platform has managed to attract millions of young people thanks to YouTubers (Fernández-de-Arroyabe, Lazkano, Eguskiza, 2018). Similarly, Instagram users worldwide have grown exponentially in recent years, reaching 1000 million active profiles in June 2018 (https://bit.ly/2wWruND). The distribution of Instagram users globally in January 2018 was 31% in the range of 18–24 years of age, 30% in the population of 25–34 years, and 17% in the age range of 35–44 (https://bit.ly/2wWruND). Instagram has been identified as the fastest-growing social network in the world. For example, in Spain, it increased its number of users from 4 million in 2014 to more than 10 million at the end of 2017 (Business Insider, 2018) (https://bit.ly/2NpGNbP). In this context, the figures of those users that set trends on both platforms, i.e., YouTubers and influencers, respectively, whose calling power had never been reached by any previous means of communication, constitutes a challenge in the investigation of communication processes.

These multiform connection spaces for the consumption of news, learning, leisure, communication, interpersonal relationships, and collective intelligence that is shaping the so-called culture of media convergence and participation demonstrates the need for alphabetization as the sole guarantor of the empowerment of citizens and the democratization of the processes of consumption and production, especially in younger generations and social groups and those at risk of social exclusion, in whom the profile as active users and producers (Bruns, 2008) acquires increasingly significant proportions.

The scope of this Special Issue is to provide a platform for researchers to share their innovative work, in the form of conceptual and research articles, on the contents, narrative, languages, contexts, innovation, and resources in communicative strategies, processes of production and reception, creativity and aesthetics in productions, as well as mediation or formation in pairs in the use of these networks.

Submitted papers should be based on rigorous, high-quality quantitative, qualitative or mixed-methods research, and intersectional and comparative analyses, contributing new insights and developments into the topics addressed. Papers based on research with under-represented, minoritized or marginalized groups or specific social contexts are particularly encouraged.

This Special Edition will focus on (but is not limited to) the following topics:

  • Influencers and social responsibility;
  • Influencers and social participation;
  • Influencers and communication strategies;
  • Influencers and aesthetics in the productions;
  • Eduinfluencers;
  • Influencers and social activism;
  • Influencers, narratives, and languages;
  • Influencers and media competence;
  • Influencers and education;
  • Competences of influencers;
  • Influencers about school (edugamers).

Dr. Ignacio Aguaded
Dr. César Bernal-Bravo
Dr. Mari-Carmen Caldeiro-Pedreira
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Influencers
  • Social responsibility
  • Social participation
  • Eduinfluencers
  • Media competence of influencers
  • Narratives of influencers

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Digital Youth and Their Acquisition of Values When Using the Internet
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 11963; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132111963 - 29 Oct 2021
Viewed by 297
Abstract
The ability to respond to complex demands in a hypermediated society such as the current one, in young people who navigate the digital world, demands a combination of practical skills, knowledge, values, and social components mobilized together to influence the ways of communicating, [...] Read more.
The ability to respond to complex demands in a hypermediated society such as the current one, in young people who navigate the digital world, demands a combination of practical skills, knowledge, values, and social components mobilized together to influence the ways of communicating, acquiring values, and training. Taking this context into account, the following research aims to discover if there is a relationship between the use of the Internet and the social values perceived by university students highlighting the variables of gender, age, and academic year. Regarding the methodology, the type of study is non-experimental with a correlational design, with a sample of 305 university students from the faculties of human and social sciences, as well as education in the Spanish and Chilean context. To collect data on the variable presence of social values, the “Social Values Questionnaire” was developed, and to collect data on variable Internet use, the “Internet Use Questionnaire” was constructed, considering reliability criteria. The results revealed that most university students that use the Internet can identify social values and use them when they communicate with classmates, friends, and family, although with certain differences when looking at the variables analyzed. In conclusion, it is important to promote the ethical and responsible use of the Internet and social networks among young university students because it promotes the development of personal skills and social values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influencers: Media Competence and Global Citizenship)
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Article
Influencers in the Political Conversation on Twitter: Identifying Digital Authority with Big Data
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2851; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052851 - 06 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 844
Abstract
Interactivity is a defining characteristic of social media. Connections among users shape the network and have a direct impact on the political conversations that take place on digital platforms. In the hybrid media system, digital discussions can have an impact on both the [...] Read more.
Interactivity is a defining characteristic of social media. Connections among users shape the network and have a direct impact on the political conversations that take place on digital platforms. In the hybrid media system, digital discussions can have an impact on both the agenda of mainstream media and the offline political life. In this context, determining who and how social influence is exercised is crucial. My objective is to identify the influencers with the greatest digital authority to guide and determine the political conversation on Twitter. For this, I have studied the process to form a Government in Spain. Machine learning techniques are used on a big data sample of 127.3 million tweets. The analysis is based on social network analysis and uses eigencentrality, a measure that determines the digital authority of users. This study focuses on the 250 accounts of the most prominent influencers. The results show that the political and media elites extend their leading roles as influencers in the digital environment. However, there is also evidence of the beginning of the breakdown of its monopoly on digital public debate and its opening to new social actors. Additionally, the data demonstrate the importance of the external socio-political context as a determining element of the exercise of social influence in the political conversation on Twitter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influencers: Media Competence and Global Citizenship)
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Article
The Relationship of Chilean Minors with Brands and Influencers on Social Networks
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2822; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052822 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 876
Abstract
This article presents the results of a study that sought to analyze the relationship between minors and brands on social media. The frequency with which minors search for or share information or subscribe to brand web pages was measured, as well as their [...] Read more.
This article presents the results of a study that sought to analyze the relationship between minors and brands on social media. The frequency with which minors search for or share information or subscribe to brand web pages was measured, as well as their following of influencers, who commonly refer to consumer goods. The main purpose of this article is to contribute to learning about the commercial environment that surrounds children in their routines on social media, particularly because of their growing influence in home purchasing decisions. The results, obtained from a survey applied in 501 homes in the Metropolitan Area of Santiago de Chile to minors between 10 and 14 years old, show that the respondents effectively interact with brands through social media. Although it is not a widespread practice among 10- to 12-year-olds, it is increasingly becoming present among 13- to 14-year-olds. Children seem most interested in sportswear, fashion, and technology brands, areas in which children have significant influence in family purchasing decision. Following influencers through social media is also a common activity among minors. In particular, the age groups here studied preferred to follow celebrities, particularly from the worlds of music, football, or YouTube, over specific brands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influencers: Media Competence and Global Citizenship)
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Article
Future Primary School Teachers’ Digital Competence in Teaching Science through the Use of Social Media
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2816; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052816 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 699
Abstract
The digital revolution has transformed the ways of doing, acting, and training in the university field. For this reason, as an objective of this work, social media was used to generate and share knowledge related to sustainability, classification of living beings, and the [...] Read more.
The digital revolution has transformed the ways of doing, acting, and training in the university field. For this reason, as an objective of this work, social media was used to generate and share knowledge related to sustainability, classification of living beings, and the functioning of the human body. The information was collected through questionnaires, that were completed before and after the intervention program, as well as the work carried out by the students. The participants were 131 students enrolled on the Primary Education degree course of the University of Murcia. The students were well aware of social media, although initially not their educational use. This perception changed when having to make concrete proposals with Instagram and Pinterest, since students valued the wide potential of the use of these networks in teaching. As a result of this intervention, 266 images were generated on Pinterest related to the classification of living beings and 67 about the devices and systems of the human body. Additionally, in terms of the activity on Instagram, 213 publications were created, reaching 1454 followers and 7885 likes. In addition, the participants recognized social media as a source of resources for education, and therefore teachers must explore all the possibilities they offer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influencers: Media Competence and Global Citizenship)
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