Governments and Social Media Influencers in Times of Crisis

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Thomas Borén
Problem: As the coronavirus spread across the globe, governments around the world
received mixed critique for their communication to the public as some handled it better than
others in public opinion. While the US government faced backlash over communication
deemed woefully inadequate by the public, the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen,
received praise for her handling and communication with the public during the crisis,
indicating that some governments were better at responding to the crisis. As numbers
suggest that traditional media, like TV and newspapers, is dwindling in the US, the case
appears to be the same in Finland, as claimed by the Finnish government. Such tendencies
might suggest that this might be the case in other nations as well. In Finland, the
government has therefore decided to communicate through social media and social media
influencers by inciting them to share reliable information.
Purpose: This study not only seeks to discover how governments may utilize social media
influencers in times of crisis, but also how social media influencers around the world are
currently addressing the pandemic and what can be learned from social media and social
media influencers during the pandemic.
Methodology: This study adopts a qualitative research approach with an exploratory design
and will analyze Instagram posts addressing the pandemic, collected from social media

influencers around the world in order, through a multimodal analysis to fulfill the above-
mentioned purpose.

Conclusion: This study concludes that governments may, when a crisis occurs, choose
among several crisis response strategies, depending on the crisis, and then base their
communication to the public on the selected strategy. Communication may be done through
social media and social media influencers and, from there, the message may spread far and
wide digitally as social media allows users to easily share content among each other.
Furthermore, the study found that social media influencers were already inciting community
spirit and spreading awareness through creative solutions like social media challenges
where users are incited to share content.
Publication date31 May 2020
Number of pages44
ID: 333336647