Uncertainty in crises often leads to knowledge gaps, which can be bridged through people’s communication, resulting in sensemaking. Because research dealing with the identification of roles to examine how they guide sensemaking is almost non-existent, this paper seeks to clarify this problem. In the context of crisis communication related to the Brussels bombings in 2016, first social network analyses are conducted to identify influential users and their role. Second, content and sensemaking analyses are performed to determine what kind of content diffuses through them to contribute to sensemaking. The results indicate that frequently retweeted users (information starters) as well as those with the most followers (amplifiers) guide the gap bridging through tweeting and retweeting new information. Furthermore, users who have the potential to bridge different communities (transmitters) shared many opinions, leading to sensemaking differently. These first research insights provide practitioners in role-based, target-oriented communication with coding schemes for further crisis communication research.
Mirbabaie, Milad and Zapatka, Elisa, (2017). "SENSEMAKING IN SOCIAL MEDIA CRISIS COMMUNICATION – A CASE STUDY ON THE BRUSSELS BOMBINGS IN 2016". In Proceedings of the 25th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Guimarães, Portugal, June 5-10, 2017 (pp. 2169-2186). ISBN 978-989-20-7655-3 Research Papers.