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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Social media have become critical components of all phases of crisis management, including preparedness, response, and recovery. Numerous recent events have demonstrated that during extreme occurrences (such as natural hazards, civil unrest, and domestic terrorist attacks), social media platforms are appropriated for response activities, providing new infrastructure for official responders to disseminate event-related information, interact with members of the public, and monitor public opinion. Emergency responders recognize the potential of social media platforms and actively use these technologies to share information and connect with constituents; however, many questions remain about the effectiveness of social media platforms in reaching members of the public during times of crisis. Moreover, there is a strong tendency for research to focus on the behavior of the public rather than on that of official emergency responders. This chapter reviews prior and ongoing work that contributes to our understanding of usage practices and the effectiveness of networked online communication during times of crisis. In particular, it focuses on empirically driven research that utilizes large-scale data sets of behavioral traces captured from social media platforms. Together this body of work demonstrates how computational techniques combined with rich, curated data sets can be used to explore information and communication behaviors in online networks.

Keywords: social media, crisis informatics, emergency response, social networks, online communication

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