Analysing Twitter Activityin Crisis ContextsAxel Bruns and Jean BurgesQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbane, Australia@snurb_dot_info | @jeanburgesshttp://mappingonlinepublics.net/
SOCIAL MEDIA DURING CRISES• Various platforms: – Facebook, Twitter – updates and information – YouTube, Flickr, Twitpic – first-hand video and photos – Google Maps, Ushahidi – map-based information mashups Different tools for different purposes• Various levels of maturity: – Uses and use practices still developing – Different demographic reach• Technological differences: – e.g. Facebook: built around personal networks; semi-private; discussion threads – e.g. Twitter: open, flat network; public #hashtag conversations; update stream
THE 2011 QUEENSLAND FLOODS• Chronology: – December 2010 to January 2011: unprecedented rainfall • Emergency declared for more than 50% of Queensland • Wivenhoe dam reaches 180% capacity – December 2010: Flooding in northern Queensland – January 2011: Floods in southeast Queensland • 10 January 2011: flash flooding in Toowoomba • 10 January 2011: ‘inland tsunami’ in the Lockyer Valley • 11 January 2011: flooding begins in Ipswich • 12-16 January 2011: major flooding in Brisbane
THE QUEENSLAND FLOODS COMMUNITY• Self-organisation: – Rapid establishment of #qldfloods hashtag – Ad hoc development of community structures – Highlighting of leading accounts, vigilant against disruption – Suspension of petty squabbles (e.g. state politics)• Innovation and rapid prototyping: – Adjunct hashtags (#Mythbuster, #bakedrelief) – Sharing and gathering of online resources – Additional tools (Google Maps, Ushahidi Maps) – Emergency services rapidly adopting social media tools (despite lack of established strategies) ‘Go where they are’ rather than ‘build it and they will come’ See CCI Report: #qldfloods and @QPSMedia: Crisis Communication on Twitter in the 2011 South East Queensland Floods (http://cci.edu.au/floodsreport.pdf)
2010/11 CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKES• Series of earthquakes: – 4 Sep. 2010 – M7.1 • Major structural damage, limited injuries – 22 Feb. 2011 – M6.3 • Substantial devastation, major casualties – 13 June 2011 – M6.3 • Major aftershock, further liquefaction – 23 Dec. 2011 – M5.1-6.0 • Major aftershocks• Significant use of social media – e.g. Twitter: #eqnz
TWITTER AND THE CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKE• Towards better strategies for social media in disasters: – February 2011 earthquake building on lessons learnt in September 2010 • #eqnz and key Twitter accounts already established • Several key accounts sharing the load and dividing responsibilities – More sophisticated use of Twitter by residents and authorities• Clear shift in attention after the immediate rescue phase: – Marked differences in list of most @replied/retweeted accounts – Some tracking of current problems / issues / fears may be possible – Decline in overall tweet volume / diversification of #hashtags?
SOCIAL MEDIA AND CRISIS COMMUNICATION• Twitter research: – Develop better tools and metrics for evaluating social media communication – In-depth analysis of communication patterns reveals how social media are used – Real-time analytics: highlight key current issues, identify weak signals of crisis – Monitor and improve effectiveness of social media communication strategies by emergency services• Social media uses: – Inform, share, amplify, support, reassure, organise – Need to track and work with user community: follow their conventions (e.g. #eqnz hashtag) – Two-way communication where feasible – more than broadcast messages – Provide community with tools to self-organise for resilience