Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Communication and Information



First Advisor

Dr. H. Dan O'Hair


Social media have been identified as powerful tools for two-way crisis communication, allowing officials to reach, inform, and motivate at-risk publics during emergencies. However, government use of social media during emergencies is a relatively new area of study and is thus understudied and undertheorized, with little evidence-based guidance for online messaging strategies during emergencies. Dialogic communication theory has recently been used as a framework to investigate the utility of social media as channels for facilitating two-way, cocreational communication. This study assesses the use and impact of dialogic communication elements at each stage of the crisis and emergency risk communication model (CERC) using a content analysis of tweets from 10 state emergency management agencies (EMAs) over a 12-month period, expanding upon W. Liu et al.'s (2020) multi-level framework for dialogic communication in social media-mediated disaster communication. There were statistically significant differences in the means or frequencies of use for all dialogic communication elements and in engagement between CERC stages. Results highlight opportunities for state EMAs to increase use of message attributes such as information specificity, themes of community, and explicit invitations to engage or interact with content or resources. There were few significant associations between dialogic communication elements and engagement metrics when control variables (e.g., hazard topic, tweet type, and CERC stage) were included in a negative binomial regression model, emphasizing the importance of message form and context in online emergency communication.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Included in

Communication Commons