Social Media Usage in Crisis Situations: How People Behave on Social Media during the Corona Crisis

Lucie Klauenberg

Student thesis: Master thesis


In the beginning of 2020, the coronavirus spread from Wuhan, China to the world affecting almost every country and caused a world-wide pandemic until the End of March of the same year. People were impacted by several regulations and also under lockdown for a while in order to prevent the spread and the outreach of health capacities infected people with severe illness required to survive. Additionally, the overall pandemic caused an economic crisis. The overall situation was also in Germany difficult for people due to the uncertain situation regarding the virus and its consequences on health and economy. The instruction to keep distance from other people in order to prevent the spreading of the virus can be especially harming in difficult times when people actually require social contact from friends and family members to get stability and support.
The primary objective of this research is to analyze the social media usage of people between 18 and 35 years old in Germany during the crisis with a special focus on people’s motive to use it for social interaction and communication. This is done based on qualitative data gathered through an online survey to get an overview and understanding of people’s social media behavior, their motives and furthermore their personal values, overall happiness and feeling of disorientation during the crisis. Based on this it got analyzed how people are impacted by the corona crisis and how it influences their motives – i.e. entertainment and information, escaping and relaxing, social interaction and communication - to use social media. Following the analysis, it can be concluded that people do require and value, next to fun and accomplishments, especially relationships and the sense of belonging. However, the analysis shows that people do not use social media in order to fulfill this need. Furthermore, it is assumed that people rather use messenger apps, video chat apps or direct personal interaction with other people to fulfill their needs which gives potential for further research.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages126
SupervisorsEdlira Shehu