Social media users’ crisis response: A lexical exploration of social media content in an international sport crisis
Public Relations Review
School of Business and Law
The topic of crisis communication and brand reputation management has attracted substantial academic attention, however minimal critique has been directed to the online response of social media users, through user-generated crisis-related communication. Drawing on crisis communication theory, we examine online sentiment of the social media public regarding the 2018 Cricket Australia ball tampering crisis over a 12-month period. It was found that sentiment towards the brand of Cricket Australia, shifted dramatically over this time. Social media users’ response progressed through four predominant stages: (1) framing and identity development; (2) sense making; (3) accountability; and, (4) vigilant rebuilding. These stages are depicted in the Social Media Users’ Crisis Response (SMUCR) framework presented in this paper. For brands involved in crisis situations, public response and social media user-generated content should be considered when formulating their communication and recovery strategies.