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Understanding Motivated Publics during Disasters: Examining Message Functions, Frames, and Styles of Social Media Influentials and Followers


Understanding Motivated Publics during Disasters: Examining Message Functions, Frames, and Styles of Social Media Influentials and Followers

Abstract: 

There has been a growing body of research regarding how organizations and general publics communicate on social media during crises. Integrating the uses and gratifications perspective, the social‐mediated crisis communication model, and the framing approach, our study offers a consolidated framework explaining how and why motivated social media publics communicate during crises. Namely, we examined whether and how influentials and followers employed different message functions through communicative devices including frames and styles. A content analysis was conducted on 800 tweets sampled from influentials and followers discussing the 2017 Ariana Grande concert bombing disaster. Our results (N = 800) suggested that influentials and followers adopted distinct communicative functions on social media during the disaster. Influentials engaged in information sharing and support exchange, whereas followers engaged in opinion expression and emotional coping. Influentials and followers also adopted specific frames and styles to achieve these communicative functions. Our findings can help crisis communicators understand the needs, concerns, and communication features of different publics and construct effective messages to reach them.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Zhao, Xinyan Zhao, Mengqi Monica Zhan, and Brooke Fisher Liu. 2019. "Understanding Motivated Publics during Disasters: Examining Message Functions, Frames, and Styles of Social Media Influentials and Followers." Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management (October). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1468-5973.12279

START Author(s): 
Brooke Liu
Publication URL: 
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