European leaders unmasked: Covid-19 communication strategy through Twitter

Resumen

The coronavirus disease Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic is exacting a huge toll on individuals, families, communities, and societies across the world. The study of public communication is a key aspect for slowing the spread of the virus and therefore reducing the death rate. This article analyses political leaders’ crisis communication during the Covid-19 pandemic of the most affected European countries, Boris Johnson (United Kingdom), Emmanuel Macron (France), Pedro Sánchez (Spain) and Giuseppe Conte (Italy), in addition to Tedros Adhanom as a representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Ursula Von der Leyen President of the European Union (EU). The study focuses on the visual information (images and videos) published in their Twitter profiles, with the aim of highlighting the strategies of recommendations by health authorities during the first 40 days of the pandemic. After analysis of the visual content of 634 tweets, the results show significant differences amongst the preventative measures recommended (social distancing, use of masks, hand washing, etc.) and the public image projected by the leaders in their Twitter profiles.

Biografía del autor/a

Esteban Galán-Cubillo, Universitat Politècnica de València

Profesor Contratado Doctor

Departamento de comunicación Audiovisual, Documentación e historia del Arte.

Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (UPV)

Citas

Agre, Philip E. (2002). “Real-time politics: The internet and the political process”. The information society, v. 18, n. 5, pp. 311-331. https://doi.org/10.1080/01972240290075174

Alhabash, Saleem; McAlister, Anna R. (2014). “Redefining virality in less broad strokes: Predicting viral behavioral intentions from motivations and uses of Facebook and Twitter”. New media & society, v. 17, n. 8, pp. 1317-1339. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444814523726

Alonso-Muñoz, Laura; Casero-Ripollés, Andreu (2020). “Populism against Europe in social media: the Eurosceptic discourse on Twitter in Spain, Italy, France and United Kingdom during the campaign of the 2019 European Parliament Election”. Frontiers in communication, v. 5, n. 54. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcomm.2020.00054

Aramaki, Eiji; Maskawa, Sachiko; Morita, Mizuki (2011). “Twitter catches the flu: detecting influenza epidemics using Twitter”. In: Proceedings of the 2011 Conference on empirical methods in natural language processing, pp. 1568-1576. Association for Computational Linguistics. http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/D11-1145

Arora, Anuja; Bansal, Shivam; Kandpal, Chandrashekhar; Aswani, Reema; Dwivedi, Yogesh (2019). “Measuring social media influencer index-insights from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram”. Journal of retailing and consumer services, v. 49, pp. 86-101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2019.03.012

Avolio, Bruce J.; Gardner, William (2005). “Authentic leadership development: Getting to the root of positive forms of leadership”. The leadership quarterly, v. 16, n.3, pp. 315-338. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2005.03.001

Bailenson, Jeremy N.; Iyengar, Shanto; Yee, Nick; Collins, Nathan A. (2008). “Facial similarity between voters and candidates causes influence”. Public opinion quarterly, v. 72, n. 5, pp. 935-961. https://doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfn064

Baker, Nevra (2020). “Authentic leadership, leader optimism, and follower affective commitment: An experimental study”. In: Dogru, Çaglar. Leadership styles, innovation, and social entrepreneurship in the era of digitalization. IGI Global, pp. 329-344. ISBN: 978 1 799811084 https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-7998-1108-4.ch013

Bakshy, Eytan; Hofman, Jake M.; Mason, Winter A.; Watts, Duncan J. (2011). “Everyone’s an influencer: quantifying influence on Twitter”. In: Proceedings of the fourth ACM International conference on Web search and data mining, pp. 65-74. https://doi.org/10.1145/1935826.1935845

Barnhurst, Kevin G.; Quinn, Kelly (2012). “Political visions: Visual studies in political communication”. In: Semetko, Holli A.; Scammell, Margaret (eds.). The Sage handbook of political communication. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 276-291.https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446201015.n23

Baron, Jonathan; Hershey, John C.; Kunreuther, Howard (2000). “Determinants of priority for risk reduction: The role of worry”. Risk analysis, v. 20, n. 4, pp. 413-428. https://doi.org/10.1111/0272-4332.204041

Bernardo, Theresa-Marie; Rajic, Andrijana; Young, Ian; Robiadek, Katie; Pham, Mai T.; Funk, Julie A. (2013). “Scoping review on search queries and social media for disease surveillance: a chronology of innovation”. Journal of medical internet research, v. 15, n. 7, e147. https://doi.org/10.2196/jmir.2740

Birdsell, David S.; Groarke, Leo (2007). “Outlines of a theory of visual argument”. Argumentation and advocacy, v. 43, pp. 103-113. https://doi.org/10.1080/00028533.2007.11821666

Bortree, Denise-Sevick; Seltzer, Trent (2009). “Dialogic strategies and outcomes: An analysis of environmental advocacy groups’ Facebook profiles”. Public relations review, v. 35, n. 3, pp. 317-319. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2009.05.002

Brennan, Bryna; Gutiérrez, Vilma (2011). Guía para elaborar la estrategia de comunicación de riesgo. De la teoría a la acción. Washington, DC: Organización Panamericana de la Salud. http://www.msal.gob.ar/images/stories/ryc/graficos/0000000750cnt-2014-04_estrategia-comunicacion-riesgo.pdf

Cairns, Georgina; De-Andrade, Marisa; MacDonald, Laura (2013). “Reputation, relationships, risk communication, and the role of trust in the prevention and control of communicable disease: A review”. Journal of health communication, v. 18, n. 12, pp. 1550-1565. https://doi.org/10.1080/10810730.2013.840696

Casero-Ripollés, Andreu; Sintes-Olivella, Marçal; Franch, Pere (2017). “The populist political communication style in action: Podemos’s issues and functions on Twitter during the 2016 Spanish general election”. American behavioral scientist, v. 61, n. 9, pp. 986-1001. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764217707624

Chan, Margaret (2014). “WHO Director-General’s speech to the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific”. World Health Organization, 13 October. http://who.int/dg/speeches/2014/regional-committee-western-pacific/en

Chess, Caron; Salomone, Kandice L.; Hance, Billie-Jo; Saville, Alex (1995). “Results of a national symposium on risk communication: Next steps for government agencies”. Risk analysis, v. 15, n. 2, pp. 115-125. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.1995.tb00306.x

Chew, Cynthia; Eysenbach, Gunther (2010). “Pandemics in the Age of Twitter: Content analysis of tweets during the 2009 H1N1 outbreak”. PLoS one, v. 5, n. 12, e14118. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0014118

Coombs, W. Timothy (2012). Ongoing crisis communication. Los Angeles: Sage. ISBN: 978 1 452261362

Coombs, W. Timothy; Holladay, Sherry J. (2002). “Helping crisis managers protect reputational assets: Initial tests of the situational crisis communication theory”. Management communication quarterly, v. 16, n. 2, pp. 165-186. https://doi.org/10.1177/089331802237233

Covello, Vicent (2003). “Best practices in public health risk and crisis communication”. Journal of health communication, v. 8, supl. 1, pp. 5-8. https://doi.org/10.1080/713851971

Covello, Vicent T.; Peters, Richard G.; Wojtecki, Joseph G.; Hyde, Richard C. (2001). “Risk communication, the West Nile virus epidemic, and bioterrorism: Responding to the communication challenges posed by the intentional or unintentional release of a pathogen in an urban setting”. Journal of urban health, v. 78, n. 2, pp. 382-391. https://doi.org/10.1093/jurban/78.2.382

Dahlgren, Peter (2005). “The internet, public spheres, and political communication: dispersion and deliberation”. Political communication, v. 22, n. 2, pp. 147-162. https://doi.org/10.1080/10584600590933160

Douglas, Ceasar; Ferris, Gerald; Perrewe, Pamela L. (2005). “Leader political skill and authentic leadership”. Authentic leadership: origins, development, and effects, v. 3, pp. 139-154. ISBN: 0762312378

Dubois, Elizabeth; Dutton, William H. (2012). “The fifth estate in internet governance: collective accountability of a Canadian policy initiative”. Revue francaise d’etudes americaines, v. 134, n. 4, pp. 81-97. https://doi.org/10.3917/rfea.134.0081

Dubois, Elizabeth; Gaffney, Devin (2014). “The multiple facets of influence: identifying political influentials and opinion leaders on Twitter”. American behavioral scientist, v. 58, n. 10, pp. 1260-1277. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764214527088

Ducharme, Jamie (2020). “News coverage of coronavirus in 2020 is very different than it was for Ebola in 2018”. Time, 7 February. https://time.com/5779872/coronavirus-ebola-news-coverage

Edwards, Korie L.; Kim, Rebecca (2019). “Estranged pioneers: The case of African American and Asian American multiracial church pastors”. Sociology of religion, v. 80, n. 4, pp. 456-477. https://doi.org/10.1093/socrel/sry059

Enli, Gunn (2017). “Twitter as arena for the authentic outsider: Exploring the social media campaigns of Trump and Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election”. European journal of communication, v. 32, n. 1, pp. 50-61. https://doi.org/10.1177/0267323116682802

Filimonov, Kirill; Russmann, Uta; Svensson, Jakob (2016). “Picturing the party: Instagram and party campaigning in the 2014 Swedish elections”. Social media + society, v. 2, n. 3. https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305116662179

Fischhoff, Baruch (1989). “Helping the public make health risk decisions”. In: Covello, Vincent T.; McCallum, David B.; Pavlova, Maria T. (eds.). Effective risk communication, pp. 111-116. Boston, MA: Springer. ISBN: 978 1 4613 1569 8 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4613-1569-8_17

Gardner, William L.; Cogliser, Claudia C.; Davis, Kelly M.; Dickens, Matthew P. (2011). “Authentic leadership: a review of the literature and research agenda”. The leadership quarterly, v. 22, n. 6, pp. 1120-1145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2011.09.007

Glik, Deborah C. (2007). “Risk communication for public health emergencies”. Annual review of public health, v. 28, pp. 33-54. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.publhealth.28.021406.144123

Guidry, Jeanine P. D.; Jin, Yan; Orr, Caroline A.; Messner, Marcus; Meganck, Shana (2017). “Ebola on Instagram and Twitter: How health organizations address the health crisis in their social media engagement”. Public relations review, v. 43, n. 3, pp. 477-486. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2017.04.009

Hagen, Loni; Keller, Thomas; Neely, Stephen; DePaula, Nic; Robert-Cooperman, Claudia (2017). “Crisis communications in the age of social media: a network analysis of Zika-related tweets”. Social science computer review, v. 36, n. 5, pp. 523-541. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894439317721985

Hanna, Richard; Rohm, Andrew; Crittenden, Victoria L. (2011). “We’re all connected: the power of the social media ecosystem”. Business horizons, v. 54, n. 3, pp. 265-273. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2011.01.007

Hindman, Matthew (2009). The myth of digital democracy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN: 978 0 691137612

Hornmoen, Harald; Backholm, Klas; Frey, Elsebeth; Ottosen, Rune; Reimerth, Gudrun; Steensen, Steen (2018). “Key communicators perspectives on the use of social media in risk and crises”. In: Andersen, Robin; De Silva, Purnaka L. (eds.). The Routledge companion to media and humanitarian action. New York and London: Routledge, pp. 439-449. ISBN: 978 0 367877965 https://hdl.handle.net/10642/7421

Houts, Peter S.; Doak, Cecilia C.; Doak, Leonard G.; Loscalzo, Matthew J. (2006). “The role of pictures in improving health communication: a review of research on attention, comprehension, recall, and adherence”. Patient education and counseling, v. 61, n. 2, pp. 173-190. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2005.05.004

Hughes, Amanda L.; Palen, Leysia (2012). “The evolving role of the public information officer: An examination of social media in emergency management”. Journal of homeland security and emergency management, v. 9, n. 1. https://doi.org/10.1515/1547-7355.1976

Kata, Anna (2010). “A postmodern Pandora’s box: anti-vaccination misinformation on the internet”. Vaccine, v. 28, n. 7, pp. 1709-1716. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.12.022

Katz, Elihu; Lazarsfeld, Paul F. (1955). Personal influence: the part played by people in the flow of mass communications. A report of the Bureau of Applied Social Research. Columbia University. Free Press. ISBN: 1412805074

Lalancette, Mireille; Raynauld, Vincent (2019). “The power of political image: Justin Trudeau, Instagram, and celebrity politics”. American behavioral scientist, v. 63, n. 7, pp. 888-924. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764217744838

Lamb, Alex; Paul, Michael J.; Dredze, Mark (2013). “Separating fact from fear: tracking flu Infections on Twitter”. In: Proceedings of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics. Human language technologies, pp. 789-795. https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/N13-1097.pdf

Latonero, Mark; Shklovski, Irinia (2011). “Emergency management, Twitter, and social media evangelism”. International journal of information systems for crisis response and management, v. 3, n. 4. https://doi.org/10.4018/jiscrm.2011100101

Lego-Muñoz, Caroline; Towner, Terri L. (2017). “The image is the message: Instagram marketing and the 2016 presidential primary season”. Journal of political marketing, v. 16, n. 3-4, pp. 290-318. https://doi.org/10.1080/15377857.2017.1334254

Lipsitch, Marc; Swerdlow, David; Finelli, Lyn (2020). “Defining the epidemiology of Covid-19 - studies needed”. New England journal of medicine, n. 382, pp. 1194-1196. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMp2002125

Liu, Brooke F.; Kim, Sora (2011). “How organizations framed the 2009 H1N1 pandemic via social media and traditional media: Implications for U.S. health communicators”. Public relations review, v. 37, n. 3, pp. 233-244. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2011.03.005

Lovejoy, Kristen; Waters, Richard D.; Saxton, Gregory D. (2012). “Engaging stakeholders through Twitter: How nonprofit organizations are getting more out of 140 characters or less”. Public relations review, v. 38, n. 2, pp. 313-318. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2012.01.005

Lüfkens, Matthias (2018). Twiplomacy Study 2018, July 10. https://twiplomacy.com/blog/twiplomacy-study-2018

Luthans, Fred; Avolio, Bruce J. (2003). “Authentic leadership development”. In: Cameron, Kim S.; Dutton, Jane E.; Quinn, Robert E. (eds.). Positive organizational scholarship. Foundations of a new discipline. McGraw-Hill Education, pp. 241-258. ISBN: 978 1 576752326

Masip, Pere; Aran-Ramspott, Sue; Ruiz-Caballero, Carlos; Suau, Jaume; Almenar, Ester; Puertas-Graell, David (2020). “Consumo informativo y cobertura mediática durante el confinamiento por el Covid-19: sobreinformación, sesgo ideológico y sensacionalismo”. Profesional de la información, v. 29, n. 3. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2020.may.12

McAllister-Spooner, Sheila M. (2009). “Fulfilling the dialogic promise: a ten-year reflective survey on dialogic internet principles”. Public relations review, v. 35, n. 3, pp. 320-322. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2009.03.008

McInnes, Colin-John; Hornmoen, Harald (2018). “‘Add Twitter and Stir’: The use of Twitter by public authorities in Norway and UK during the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak”. Observatorio (OBS*), v. 12, n. 2, pp. 23-46. https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS12220181173

Nordahl, Kristina (2009). Authentic authority: The heart of effective teaching. Laerarutbildningen, Sweden: Malmoe Hoegskola. http://hdl.handle.net/2043/8450

Palenchar, Michael J.; Heath, Robert L. (2007). “Strategic risk communication: adding value to society”. Public relations review, v. 33, n. 2, pp. 120-129. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2006.11.014

Paramova, Petia (2014). Cultural variations of the personalities, leadership styles and prototypes of political leaders. A comparison of politicians, organisational leaders and voters. Doctoral dissertation. University of London. https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00010853

Parks, Will; Lloyd, Linda (2004). Planificación de la movilización y comunicación social para la prevención y el control del dengue: guía paso a paso. Ginebra: Organización Mundial de la Salud. ISBN: 9241591072 https://www.who.int/tdr/publications/documents/planificacion_dengue.pdf?ua

Partner, Bi-India (2020). “Twitter has some tips for journalists and media organisations to communicate effectively amid crisis”. Advertising & media insider, 22 Apr. https://www.businessinsider.in/advertising/ad-tech/article/twitter-has-some-tips-for-journalists-and-media-organisations-to-communicate-effectively-amid-crisis/articleshow/75289193.cms

Paul, Michael; Dredze, Mark (2011). “You are what you tweet: analyzing Twitter for public health”. In: Proceedings of the 5th Intl AAAI Conference on weblogs and social media (Icwsm), pp. 265-272. https://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/ICWSM/ICWSM11/paper/viewPaper/2880

Pittinsky, Todd L.; Tyson, Christopher J. (2005). “Leader authenticity markers: findings from a study of African American political leaders”. In: Gardner, William L.; Avolio, Bruce J.; Walumbwa, Fred O. (eds.). Authentic leadership theory and practice: Origins, effects and development, v. 3, pp. 155-182. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.630605

Powell, Thomas E.; Boomgaarden, Hajo G.; De-Swert, Knut; De-Vreese, Claes H. (2015). “A clearer picture: The contribution of visuals and text to framing effects”. Journal of communication, v. 65, n. 6, pp. 997-1017. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcom.12184

Renn, Ortwin; Levine, Debra (1991). “Credibility and trust in risk communication”. In: Kasperson, Roger E.; Stallen, Pieter-Jan M. (eds.). Communicating risks to the public. The Hague: Klewer, pp. 175-217. ISBN: 978 94 010 7372 1 https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-009-1952-5_10

Reynolds, Barbara J. (2009). “Building trust through social media. CDC’s experience during the H1N1 influenza response”. Marketing health services, v. 30, n. 2, pp. 18-21. https://europepmc.org/article/med/20550001

Rogers, Everett (2010). Diffusion of innovations, 4th ed. New York, NY: Free Press. ISBN: 0029266718

Schill, Dan (2012). “The visual image and the political image: a review of visual communication research in the field of political communication”. Review of communication, v. 12, n. 2, pp. 118-142. https://doi.org/10.1080/15358593.2011.653504

Schultz, Friederike; Utz, Sonja; Göritz, Anja (2011). “Is the medium the message? Perceptions of and reactions to crisis communication via Twitter, blogs and traditional media”. Public relations review, v. 37, pp. 20-27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2010.12.001

Simon, Tomer; Goldberg, Avishay; Aharonson-Daniel, Limor; Leykin, Dmitry; Adini, Bruria (2014). “Twitter in the cross fire - the use of social media in the Westgate mall terror attack in Kenya”. PLoS one, v. 9. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0104136

Sommerfeldt, Erich J.; Kent, Michael L.; Taylor, Maureen (2012). “Activist practitioner perspectives of website public relations: Why aren’t activist websites fulfilling the dialogic promise?”. Public relations review, v. 38, n. 2, pp. 303-312. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2012.01.001

Stander, Frederick W.; De-Beer, Leon T.; Stander, Marius W. (2015). “Authentic leadership as a source of optimism, trust in the organisation and work engagement in the public health care sector”. SA Journal of human resource management, v. 13, n. 1. https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v13i1.675

Stevenson, Chris (2018). “What has Trump tweeted today? The latest Twitter posts from the US President and what they really mean”. The independent, 14 February. https://www.inkl.com/news/what-has-trump-tweeted-today-the-latest-twitter-posts-from-the-us-president-and-what-they-really-mean

Thelwall, Mike; Thelwall, Saheeda (2020). “Covid-19 tweeting in English: Gender differences”. El profesional de la información, v. 29, n. 3, e290301. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2020.may.01

Tirkkonen, Päivi; Luoma-aho, Vilma (2011). “Online authority communication during an epidemic: a Finnish example”. Public relations review, v. 37, n. 2, pp. 172-174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2011.01.004

Tucker, William (2012). Relationship between authentic leadership traits and developmental education methods of air force field grade officers. Walden University. UMI Number: 3518517

Utz, Sonja; Schultz, Friederike; Glocka, Sandra (2012). “Crisis communication online: how medium, crisis type and emotions affected public reactions in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster”. Public relations review, v. 39, n. 1, pp. 40-46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2012.09.010

Vázquez-Sande, Pablo; García-Abad, Lito; Pineda-Martínez, Paula (2019). “Comunicación interna y crisis reputacional. El caso de la Universidad Rey Juan Carlos”. Revista latina de comunicación social, n. 74, pp. 1748-1760. https://doi.org/10.4185/RLCS-2019-1408

Veil, Shari R.; Buehner, Tara; Palenchar, Michael J. (2011). “A work-in-progress literature review: incorporating social media in risk and crisis communication”. Journal of contingencies and crisis management, v. 19, pp. 110-122. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5973.2011.00639.x

Walumbwa, Fred O.; Wang, Peng; Wang, Hui; Schaubroeck, John; Avolio, Bruce J. (2010). “Psychological processes linking authentic leadership to follower behaviors”. The leadership quarterly, v. 21, pp. 901-914. [This article has been retracted] https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1016/j.leaqua.2014.07.004

Watts, Duncan J.; Dodds, Peter S. (2007). “Influentials, networks, and public opinion formation”. Journal of consumer research, v. 34, n. 4, pp. 441-458. https://doi.org/10.1086/518527

Wise, Kurt (2001). “Opportunities for public relations research in public health”. Public relations review, v. 27, n. 4, pp. 475-487. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0363-8111(01)00102-3

Publicado
2020-09-07
Sección
Artículos de investigación Covid-19 / Covid-19 research articles