Terror Management and Twitter: The Case of the 2016 Berlin Terrorist Attack


There is evidence that people increasingly use social networking sites like Twitter in the aftermath of terrorist attacks to make sense of the events at the collective level. This work-in-progress paper focuses on the content of Twitter messages related to the 2016 terrorist attack on the Berlin Christmas market. We chose topic modeling to investigate the Twitter data and the terror management theory perspective to understand why people used Twitter in the aftermath of the attack. In particular, by connecting people and providing a real-time communication channel, Twitter helps its users collectively negotiate their worldviews and re-establish self-esteem. We provide first results and discuss next steps.

The 15th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis response and Management