Regenerative crisis, social media publics and Internet trolling: A cultural discourse approach

Song Harris Ao, Angela K.Y. Mak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Given that a regenerative crisis life cycle is no longer static, communication dynamics have extended beyond organization-receiver relationship to receiver-receiver relationship in the social media environment. This paper analyzes and explicates the socio-cultural meanings in the interaction processes of the crisis publics with a specific socio-political context by blending the concept of Internet trolling into predominant crisis communication theories (i.e. social-mediated crisis communication and regenerative crisis model). Using cultural discourse analysis (CuDA), we analyzed the top influential posts, comments and responses created by both influential social media users and general followers based on the five discourse hubs or radiants of identity, relation, action, dwelling, and emotion in the Lancôme case, which was regarded as the most heated crisis in Hong Kong after and influenced by the Umbrella Movement. The findings suggest that the motivations and behaviors found within each of the crisis publics––influencers and followers––are fundamentally different from each other by nature along the situated regenerative crisis. Two types of social media influencers (i.e. primary and secondary influencers) were identified. We propose a regenerative crisis model of publics to highlight their roles, purposes, behaviors, interaction processes, and emotions within a situated socio-political tension. This paper also discusses the theoretical implications for social-mediated crisis communication literature and the practical implications that take contextual factors into consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102072
JournalPublic Relations Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Marketing

User-Defined Keywords

  • Crisis communication
  • Cultural discourse analysis
  • Hong Kong umbrella movement
  • Internet trolling
  • Regenerative crisis
  • Social media influencers
  • Social media publics
  • Social-cultural meanings


Dive into the research topics of 'Regenerative crisis, social media publics and Internet trolling: A cultural discourse approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this