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.
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