BEND. DON’T BREAK. ANALYZING RESILIENCE AND COPING DIALOGUES ON SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE AFTERMATH OF TWO TERROR ATTACKS
thesisposted on 24.04.2020, 13:31 authored by Staci B SmithStaci B Smith
Social media have become increasingly useful in identifying conversations during a crisis, particularly on Twitter where discussion tends to be public, accessible, and extensive. Through social media, individuals engage in social interaction and dialogue, making social media platforms a place where crisis coping activities may be identified, tracked and evaluated. This study examines crisis response of two separate crisis events, the terror attacks in Paris (2015) and in Barcelona (2017). Using semantic network analysis, this study examined dialogue surrounding each crisis over three days following the original crisis events, marked by the hashtags #Paris (24,728 tweets) and #Barcelona (27,338 tweets). Results show that the most dominant dialogue in the Paris and Barcelona terror attacks demonstrated central themes of information distribution, emotional expression, sense of community, and calls to action. More specifically, results show that the emotional connections trend positive in expressing community and unity. While most of the literature on crisis emphasizes negative response, this study shows that positivity during a crisis is a significant theme of discussions. Furthermore, this study showed resilience in efforts to seek positivity, build community, and create new normals, suggesting that social media engagement might help facilitate resilience.