Connecting social media data and crisis communication theory: a case study on the chicken and the egg

N. Lauran, Florian Kunneman, L. Van de Wijngaert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In a crisis situation, communication is an important asset for safeguarding the reputation of an organization. The communication strategy that is used in a crisis influences the way people perceive the crisis. While extensive research is conducted and clear communication guidelines about crisis communication are provided, current research tends to focus on a single actor in a crisis within a homogeneous stakeholder group. In this article, we analyze whether and how different groups of stakeholders frame a crisis and the extent to which they attribute responsibility for the crisis to actors. The case concerns the use of an illegal lice detergent (fipronil) in eggs in the Netherlands in the summer of 2017. Based on the analysis of Twitter data related to the case using multiple methods (network analysis, a longitudinal analysis and the annotation of a sample of tweets), this study shows that a seemingly simple case in a single sub-arena has different subgroups that use different frames and attribute different responsibilities to different stakeholders. This result implies that a reconsideration of communication strategies during and after a crisis is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1259-1277
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


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