I am no stranger to hippy dippy mumbo jumbo on the internet being thrust in my face as a coeliac and plant based individual – but would I take their advice if it was less obvious?
Celebrity influence in all fields of life is apparent, with vegan celebrities being no different. Celebrities endorsing veganism may exert social influence on social media users’ attitude toward a vegan diet and behavioural intention to become vegan (na 2018). A new type of celebrity emerging in the vegan online community are influencers, or micro celebrities. Despite the lesser following than their superstar counterpart, currently more than one-third of 14 to 17-year-olds are deliberately looking for products and services on influencer’s accounts (Pilgrim & Bohnet-Joschko 2019).
When I engage with the vegan community, which is primarily situated on YouTube and Instagram, I turn to them for fun meal ideas and recipes. Inspiration and motivation are the key pillars of the vegan/plant-based/wellness community. Organic aesthetics, upbeat music, sunshine and plants are at the forefront of many vegan influencers image as they document their life. Product recommendations and meal ideas are harmless – but they can more often than not turn into health advice from unqualified sources.
I will be documenting experiences in this online community as an autoethographic study and sharing my qualitative findings in blog post form. To really understand what happens in this media niche, I am then going to use the knowledge learnt to recreate trends, interactions or any other notable details on my own instagram page @thecoeliacvegann.
To learn more about this research journey – watch my video below!
na, ‘Celebrity Endorsers of Veganism on Social Media’ 2018, Conference Papers — International Communication Association, pp. 1–30, viewed 8 September 2020, <https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ufh&AN=135747519>.
Pilgrim, K & Bohnet-Joschko, S 2019, ‘Selling health and happiness how influencers communicate on Instagram about dieting and exercise: mixed methods research’, BMC public health, vol. 19, no. 1, p. 1054, viewed 8 September 2020, <https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mnh&AN=31387563>.
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