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.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
- Crisis communication
- Social media influence