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

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Lauran, N. (main author), Kunneman, F. (author), Van de Wijngaert, L. (author)
Online journal article
Publication Date:
Taylor & Francis
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
animal rights, consumers, crisis communication, food safety, poultry, animal communication, social media, Twitter, animal welfare, Netherlands (Europe), activists, media coverage, online communication
20 pages., via online journal., 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.