Public Relations (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Michelle Groover


This thesis examines how social media was used during the Chipotle Mexican Grill E. coli crisis in the United States from October 19, 2015, to February 8, 2016. This content analysis research project will examine how social media, more specifically Twitter and Facebook, were used by Chipotle and the general public during the time of the crisis. Social media posts from this time will be reviewed in order to determine how the public felt or reacted to the information, positive, negative, or neutral. Specific handles were used to identify the “tweets” and “statuses” posted during this time. Crisis communication and Coombs’ Situational Crisis Community Theory, were studied to better understand the reaction and reasoning behind Chipotle’s and the general publics’ portrayal of the E. coli outbreak.