Crisis: 5 ways to stand out on Twitter

October 20th, 2015

Crisis: 5 ways to stand out on Twitter
The Volkswagen affair: lessons learnt. By Pierre Chavonnet and Thomas Millard, Occurrence.

Occurrence_Crise-5 façons de se démarquer sur Twitter

On September 23rd, 2015, the twitosphere resounded with thousands of tweets integrating the @volkswagen account… This was an opportunity to map and analyse what was going on*. At the heart of the storm that overwhelmed the German brand, was a huge and compact mass of Tweets, Retweets and Follows where nobody, except for @volkswagen, was really visible.

However, it is interesting to notice the Tweets which have managed to create an audience and specific visibility in the periphery of such media coverage…

5 ways to engage and exist have thus emerged from our analysis:


1) Providing information that has been carefully checked in terms of form

These press articles are successful as they feature striking headlines and pictures, or a specific way of reporting the crisis. There are plenty of examples, such as articles from Forbes or US Stories.


2) Beyond information, sharing beliefs

These are blog posts or forums that provide an analysis and express a real opinion: Opinion Page of the NYTimes: “Volkswagen and the Era of Cheating Software” by Zeynep Tüfekçi.


3) Play on the local and/ or linguistic fiber

‘A man’s home is his own castle’: like Alvaro Sanchez and his article in El Pais “Las claves del escándalo Volkswagen”


4) Do not neglect humour, even when the topic is serious!

It hardly gets any better…

The example of @cluedont: “Me: Did you just fart? CEO of Volkswagen: No. Me: Hmm. “


5) And finally “recover” the topic

In battle one must fire on all cylinders… generalising individual behavior so as to denounce a practice or tackle an opponent.

Just like Greenpeace, that published a mask of Darth Vader with a VW logo together with the words “I’m your air”.

Or Ronald Hise, who attacks the Republicans (US): “When Republicans say we need less regulation because corporations will do the right thing for the planet just tell em #Volkswagen”.


At the next crisis, you will be equipped to exist!


* The twitosphere around Volkswagen between September 13th and 15h September 2015, day of the resignation of its CEO Winterkorn. Mapping of 11618 nodes (Twitter accounts interaction) and 11703 collected nodes (Tweets, follow, retweets, mentions …). Performed with the software Gephi.