The Social Mediated Crisis Communication Model

The Social Mediated Crisis Communication (SMCC) model plays an important role in recent crisis communication theory. This model holds that in the context of a crisis, multiple “publics” or “audiences” exist in the world of social media, including:

  • Influentials: These individuals create information that others access
  • Followers: These individuals follow the influentials and access the information they disseminate
  • Inactive Members: Those individuals who do not directly access information from social media and rather seek information from other sources or are exposed to information from social media indirectly

Essential to this model is both the direct and indirect dissemination of information across social media, as well as between traditional and social media (Austin, Liu & Jin, 2012). As a result, this model is useful for communication efforts in emergency situations when defining the at-risk population and how best to reach them. In a world increasingly connected via social media, information exchanged on this platform during emergencies has the potential to engage with multiple types of public audiences. Although inactive members may be connected to social media indirectly through other members or traditional media, these individuals may require different messaging channels than influentials and followers. This theory provides a model that identifies characteristics of audiences that can help to refine communication strategies and components.