Researching SocialMedia in Times of CrisisAssociate Professor Axel BrunsQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbane, Australia@snurb_dot_info | http://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; discussionthreads– e.g. Twitter: open, flat network; public #hashtag conversations; updatestream
CRISIS COMMUNICATION RESEARCH AT QUTo ARC Centre of Excellence for CreativeIndustries & Innovation (national,based at QUT)o Project: Media Ecologies &Methodological Innovationo New methods to understand thechanging media environmento Role of social media, especially Twitterhttp://mappingonlinepublics.net/o Project: Social Media in Times of Crisiso Focus on crisis communicationo Partnerships with QueenslandDepartment of Community Safety,Eidos Institutehttp://cci.edu.au/floodsreport.pdf
KEY CHALLENGES IN CRISIS COMMUNICATION• Information dissemination:– Crisis communication strategies of emergency services /emergency media organisations– Evaluating effectiveness and resonance– Maintaining public visibility of social media accounts outside ofacute crisis situations• Information discovery:– (Early) detection of crisis events in social media feeds– Identification and evaluation of crisis-relevant information– Correlation of crowdsourced information with other crisis data
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 Twitterin the 2011 South East Queensland Floods (http://cci.edu.au/floodsreport.pdf)
KEY CHALLENGES• Identification:– Unforeseen events: need to track more than keywords („big data‟)– Potential to identify emerging events from overall activity patterns• Evaluation:– Real? Hoax? Metaphor (“the bank has collapsed”)?– May need semantic analysis, user profiling, independent verification• Incorporation:– Correlation and integration with standard emergency data sources– Timeframes: how long until crowdsourced information expires?
10 Jan 2011 11 Jan 2011 12 Jan 2011 13 Jan 2011 14 Jan 2011 15 Jan 2011#QLDFLOODS FROM TOOWOOMBA TO BRISBANE
SOCIAL MEDIA AND CRISIS COMMUNICATION• Social media 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 byemergency 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