University of Twente Student Theses


Online emotions during crises : how the public respond in Facebook comments

Beeks, Jelmer (2019) Online emotions during crises : how the public respond in Facebook comments.

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Abstract:When an organization is dealing with a crisis, good crisis communication is essential. Several studies focus on the development of communication strategies to successfully manage the crisis and mitigate any unforeseen damage that may occur. However, emotions from the public on social media involved in an organizational crisis are not frequently addressed in previous crisis communication research. Social media enables the public to respond to the crisis, which includes not only the stakeholders with high involvement, but also stakeholders with more distance. Therefore, proximity could influence the public response. In addition, the emotional response can change during the crisis. Thus, what is the influence of the development of time during a crisis? Therefore, this study aims to investigate the public’s emotional response on social media during an organizational crisis and whether this is influenced by proximity and time. For this study, a case study was selected that relates to a crisis at a professional football club in the Netherlands. For the content analysis, three media outlets were analysed, representing high, medium, and low proximity. Four different periods of the crisis and the comments on the Facebook posts of the selected media were analysed with regard to negative and positive emotions. High and low proximity had no significant difference between negative and positive emotions and this differs from medium proximity, which has significantly more negative emotions. In the first three periods, there were significantly more negative emotions, but in the last period, the positive emotions were significantly more presented. Based on time in relation to all levels of proximity, the four periods showed significant differences in emotions. The emotions of the high proximity had more significant correlations than medium and low proximity did. Thus, the stakeholders with high and low proximity are more divided in their emotions, whereas medium proximity is more negative. Based on the development of time during the crisis, medium and low proximity are negative at the start and middle of the crisis, but end positively. High proximity showed a diversity of negative and positive emotions during the crisis. In addition to this, the emotions were influenced by the news reported during the crisis.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
1989, Amsterdam
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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