A recent academic study revealed that celebrities do not provide any serious or deep content, but rather their influence is limited to the consumer behavior of the audience, through entertainment or marketing content, with a lack of stability and continuous transformation , describing them as individuals and individuals. groupings without an ideological link or bloc, while Influencers are digital elites who fall under an ideological bloc and play an epistemological role with a message. At a time when the traditional elite component has declined, and its influence and presence in Saudi society has noticeably weakened, with the elite losing its central idea, which is the idea of leadership in the face of the reality of the growing crowd. This comes in a study titled (Communicative Behavior of Saudi Cultural Elites Through Social Networks) by Saudi researcher Saeed bin Ahmed Al-Dahiya Al-Zahrani, through which he earned a doctorate in the philosophy of digital communication from the College of Media and Communication at Imam Muhammad bin Saud University.
The retreat of the traditional elites
In his letter, Al-Zahrani presented a philosophical roots of the idea of digital communication, the presence of elites in participatory media and the crystallization of digital communication behavior, which includes the extension of the symbolic layer through social networks and the inclusion of the celebrity- component within them, which led to the decline in the role of traditional elites. The thesis also contributed to providing a systematic framework on the social and cultural history of Saudi society within the Internet, starting with forums and ending with social networks, over a period of more than two decades. Meanwhile, she presented a model called the “Network Analysis Model for Elite Accounts on Twitter” to find indicators by which the communicative behavior of elite network users can be tracked, read and interpreted.
Al-Zahrani concluded with a set of results, the most important of which is: that digital civilization has seen the birth of a new anti-elitist form, more penetrating, broader and comprehensive, with instruments of influence and influence that span times, places transcend , cultures, generations and fields. And the owners of these companies and institutions on the other hand, and the governments in which these companies and institutions and their owners are located on a third hand, form a new system of dominance and influence in the digital communication environments and the worlds of digital civilization, as a new center of power added to the system of active and influential centers of power in the local and international context. The results also showed the emergence of a new elitist act that the researcher with the concept of (parallel elite) through formulas of the techno-digital structure and the joint communicative behavior of individuals.
A new civilized model
The study confirmed that social networks and digital communication environments are a new civilized model that offers a new vision of the universe, life and people, and it is an explosive model for the structure of the previous traditional patterns. And that the accelerated growth through networking techniques, especially through social media, has led to the decline of the traditional elite component, and the noticeable weakening of its influence and presence in Saudi society, while not being completely evaded, as reported becomes like (the death of elite) as the elite component expanded, in terms of Quantity, segments, levels and specializations, to the point where the concept of the elite melted away after the elite became broad masses, and consequently the elite loses its central idea. , which is the idea of leadership in the face of the reality of the growing multitude.
The new Saudi stage
The study was concerned with the extrapolation of the intellectual references of the Saudi elite, which are supposed to guide communicative behavior, as the sample members were divided into two categories; The first category belongs to the independent, neutral or artistic intellectual current that is not concerned with intellectual classifications, or their interactions, while the second category is the category of opposing intellectual currents represented by the conservative current on the one hand, and the liberal present on the other hand, and they are the two groups whose representation in society is present in a lesser proportion, except that their voice is the loudest, referring to the tendency of the balance towards the liberal tendency, especially those who concerned with national affairs, a result that Al-Zahrani interprets with the phased consistency that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the era of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and its Crown Prince is witnessing regarding the prevailing voice of tolerance and balanced openness, and the fight against extremism and extremism Where it is represented in the case of recognition not seen in previous periods regarding the term (liberal), as well as acceptance of the description or classification of the term (liberal).
Celebrities as an alternative to elites
The study revealed the emergence of the category of the digital stream, or the digital school, where the researcher noted that there is evidence of a new intellectual stream that is forming in a remarkable way, presence and prominence adopt, and he does not have a stable intellectual classification for it in the traditional knowledge heritage, and therefore digital communication has generated the new intellectual current special This is the (digital trend) that comes as an intellectual trend, not a professional or applied trend not. The results show that there is an intellectual trend that believes that the future will see the extinction of the term elites, as opposed to the flourishing of the term celebrity, that is, there is a reversal in the meaning of the term, because the term elites is in its origin a term inherited from the traditional civilization, and when the traditional generations leave life (digital immigrants), the network generations (digital natives) will continue their life and stages, according to the term celebrities who born within their digital environment.
More than half of the elites of the study sample saw a decrease in their communicative activity via Twitter in the years following 2015, compared to the five years preceding that year, leading to the emergence of the concept of boredom in the performance of the digital communication behavior of the elites of the study sample contrary to the general mentality in terms of individual addiction Use of social networks.
Al-Zahrani was concerned with clarifying the extent to which the elites believe in freedom of opinion, made possible by social networks, by asking about the extent to which the elites use the blocking technology (block), as a trend towards emerged that sees the concept of freedom taking on a new form in digital communication environments and social networks. When you block a user, you have not confiscated his freedom of expression and appearance, but you have exercised your own freedom to remove an unwanted person from your private. digital space, while he has complete freedom and ability to appear and express from his pulpit and his personal version. It is thereby embodied in any of the previous periods of civilization, as it is embodied in this era of digital communication civilization. In the past, platforms were limited and freedom of expression depended only on them. Today, through digital communication environments, freedom is available to everyone, and the responsibility to take care of that freedom rests with everyone by every On this basis Al claims -Zahrani that digital communication has enabled freedom and the responsibility of freedom to be available together in a way that history has not seen before.
The predicament of traditional elites
Regarding the extent to which the Saudi elite accepts the principle that the elite invests its accounts on social networks to distribute advertisements, the researcher points to the emergence of two characteristics: the first is the danger that the digital communication behavior is dependent of the threat of the avatar, which is the capital of the elite, when it is thrown into the scoops of possibilities by accepting marketing advertising money Commercial, since it is usually associated with the imposition of a special vision that achieves the advertiser’s profit, which will lead to the disruption of the image of the elite and the loss of followers who are the real wealth in digital communication Social communication for advertising and paid commercial marketing, based on the digital idea (the self is present in digital communication environments as a number, the content is created within a digital system, and the interaction arises through follower numbers and response times, and the like).
The network analysis model, according to the results of the data analysis study, revealed that more than half of the elites in the study sample had a decrease in their communicative activity via Twitter in the years after 2015, compared to the five years what preceded it. year, which led to the emergence of the concept of boredom in the performance of digital communication behavior among The elites of the study sample is contrary to the general mentality in terms of individuals’ addiction to the use of social networks. The study was concerned with investigating the persuasive dimension in the discourse of the Saudi elite, and the shock method emerged, which is based on providing information or shocking opinions to the followers to attract their attention and make them convinced of ideas, in a way that achieves they attract attention and attraction and thus spread and influence.
Writer from Sudan