Influencers belong to the daily media diet of many adolescents. As role models, they have the potential to play a crucial role in the identity construction of their viewers. In the age of social media, such role models may now be found more locally – in the same city – and perhaps with more diverse backgrounds. This may be particularly valuable to adolescents growing up in super-diverse cities, as they are surrounded by a multitude of groups and identities during a life phase in which they have to make sense of who they are and where they belong. Despite the heterogeneity of these identities, there is one thing all have in common: the city they live in. With the city as a common framework, local influencers may be important role models for these adolescents, particularly in negotiating their urban identity. This paper aims toward mapping the ways in which social media can play a role in the negotiation of urban identity among youngsters by investigating how YouTube influencers from a super-diverse city are related to each other online, and how their content relates to the (super-diverse) city of Rotterdam. Findings show that in their videos and on their channel pages, influencers mainly affiliate themselves with the city through having the city as the background and context of the videos, through their involvement with cultural trends (e.g., soccer, hip-hop) that link to the city, and through their affiliation with other local influencers. We argue that influencers may therefore provide their viewers with content that may potentially help their local viewers strengthen their urban identity.

adolescents, influencers, micro-celebrities, social media, super-diversity, urban identity,
Frontiers in Psychology
Department of History

van Eldik, A.K. (Anne K.), Kneer, J, Lutkenhaus, R.O. (Roel O.), & Jansz, J. (2019). Urban Influencers: An Analysis of Urban Identity in YouTube Content of Local Social Media Influencers in a Super-Diverse City. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02876