#Migrantcrisis: “Tagging” the European Migration Crisis on Twitter
journal contributionposted on 22.08.2017, 09:13 by Ioanna Ferra, Dennis Nguyen
Purpose This paper explores how the transnational discourse on the migrant crisis materialized on Twitter; it analyses how different stakeholders make use of online platforms to engage in the transnational digital public sphere in a crisis context. Design/methodology/approach The case study combines insights from research on transnational public discourses with web sphere theory for the methodological angle; it also applies Social Network- and Semantic Analysis as empirical methods for data analysis. Twitter data related to #migrantcrisis and published on the 26th of February 2016 was collected, processed and visualized with NodeXL. Findings The Social Network- and Semantic Analysis of 4277 tweet identified the key actors/stakeholders who dominated the transnational web discourse and the main topics subsumed under the #migrantcrisis. The results suggest that the hierarchical structures that shaped the “offline” public sphere resonate in the digital public sphere. Simultaneously, strong links with general EU politics and other crisis events that caused turmoil in the transnational public sphere emerged as well. Research limitations/implications The paper provides an exploratory mapping of noticeable tendencies in a data set that is limited to the 26th of February 2016, which marked the closing of borders along the so-called “Balkan Route” to Europe. Originality/value This paper examines the usage of Twitter and the formation of the transnational web discourse by focusing the examination of a key date and event as regards to the unfolding of the migrant crisis in Europe.