I'm pleased to see useful research is being done to clarify further what we mean by opinion leadership. Too often I hear people reducing what is a very complex topic to a simple slide of Roger's characteristics. Roger's initial work on the Diffusion of Innovations was researched and published before the age fo the Internet and before many staff were born. We need updates and we need to grasp a deeper understanding of the complexities.
There's a new paper out.
Implement Sci. 2011 Oct 11;6(1):117. [Epub ahead of print]
Opinion leaders and changes over time: a survey.
Doumit G, Wright FC, Graham ID, Smith A, Grimshaw J.
I've posted the conclusions to this paper below - and recommend you read the original.
Opinion leaders identified in this study were not stable over a two-year time period and generally appear to be monomorphic with clearly demarcated areas of expertise and limited spheres of influence. These findings may limit the practicability of routinely using opinion leaders to influence practice."