Positive Effects of Emotional Issues Under the Agenda Setting Theory: An Analysis of the Shanxi Rainstorm Event’s Agenda Setting Process on Weibo
The popularity of Internet technology, coupled with the advancement of new media, enables individual emotions within the public to converge into collective emotions when shared on social media. The transmission of public opinion during public emergencies is increasingly characterized by intense emotions, limited information, and unclear facts. Without proper guidance, it has the potential to escalate social conflicts. As a result, the positive effects of emotional issues are frequently disregarded in a discriminatory manner. This paper conducts an empirical study on the agenda setting on Weibo of the Shanxi rainstorm event, specifically focusing on its atypical public sentiment compared to other natural disasters. The results of the study indicate that both public users and self-media exploit their superiority in terms of time and space to acquire first-hand information, thereby having more of a chance than others for their voices to be heard in the first- and second-level agenda-setting processes. This stimulates the positive effects of emotional issues, which, together with government agencies’ Weibo accounts such as Shanxi Daily, contribute to resolving the public crisis of the Shanxi rainstorm event.