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Disentangling Social Media Influence in Crises: Testing a Four-factor Model of Social Media Influence with Large Data


Disentangling Social Media Influence in Crises: Testing a Four-factor Model of Social Media Influence with Large Data

Abstract: 

Social media empower publics by providing a platform for their voices during crises. Digital-enabled platforms allow individuals to become influentials by sharing their insights and expertise with others. Confronted with the fast-paced and complex dynamics of crises, we lack a systematic conceptualization and a valid measure of social media influence in the crisis context. By integrating diverse perspectives on influence, we propose a new framework that theorizes different dimensions of social media influence based on publics’ communicative behaviors during crises. This integrated framework offers a refined conceptualization and measurement of social media influence in crises by incorporating the network perspective. We tested the framework with large-scale Twitter data from four crises. Results from multigroup CFA on Twitter influencers suggest that social media influence is composed of four factors: output, reactive outtake, proactive outtake, and network positioning. Each factor is associated with a distinct set of users’ behavioral indicators (e.g., retweet). Implications for crisis communication and public relations are discussed.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Zhao, Xinyan, Mengqi Zhan, and Brooke F. Liu. 2018. "Disentangling Social Media Influence in Crises: Testing a Four-factor Model of Social Media Influence with Large Data." Public Relations Review 44 (November): 549-561.  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0363811118302066

START Author(s): 
Brooke Liu
Publication URL: 
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