Fighting the social media wildfire: how crisis communication must adapt to prevent from fanning the flames Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
Creator
  • Soule, Allison R.
    • Affiliation: Hussman School of Journalism and Media
Abstract
  • When a nine-month correspondence seeking reparations for musical instruments damaged by United Airlines employees stalemated, Canadian musician Dave Carroll took action online. Utilizing the video-sharing Web site YouTube, Carroll narrated his ordeal through the lyrics of a music video entitled United Breaks Guitars. Within hours, the video went viral generating a torrent of negative YouTube comments about United, commentary from the mainstream media, and more than 3 million views the first week of its launch. United Breaks Guitars embodies the new phenomenon of a social media wildfire in which the rapid proliferation of information through social media causes severe reputational damage to organizations whose crisis communication plans are ill equipped to handle online dilemmas. Using symbolic interactionist theory, this case analysis explores the phenomenon in detail and provides suggestions for how organizations must re-evaluate existing crisis communication plans to respond effectively to an online audience in the billions.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Boynton, Lois A.
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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  • Open access
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