Researching Social Media in Times of Crisis

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Keynote presented at the Social Media in Times of Crisis conference, Brisbane, 4 April 2013.

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Researching Social Media in Times of Crisis

  1. 1. Researching SocialMedia in Times of CrisisAssociate Professor Axel BrunsQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbane, Australia@snurb_dot_info | http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  2. 2. 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
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. INFORMATION DISSEMINATION
  6. 6. 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)
  7. 7. #QLDFLOODS @MENTIONSmainstreammediaauthorities
  8. 8. MESSAGE AMPLIFICATION ON TWITTER
  9. 9. JUST THE FACTS: SELECTIVE RETWEETING
  10. 10. WHAT LINKS ARE SHARED?
  11. 11. #EQNZ: VISIBILITY OF LEADING ACCOUNTS IN EACH EVENT
  12. 12. INFORMATION DISCOVERY
  13. 13. 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?
  14. 14. 10 Jan 2011 11 Jan 2011 12 Jan 2011 13 Jan 2011 14 Jan 2011 15 Jan 2011#QLDFLOODS FROM TOOWOOMBA TO BRISBANE
  15. 15. #EQNZ: KEY THEMES
  16. 16. #EQNZ: MENTIONS OF THE CTV BUILDINGGraph: Avijit Paul(@cdtavijit); seePaul & Bruns (2013)
  17. 17. COMMONPATTERNS(Bruns & Stieglitz, 2012)
  18. 18. 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
  19. 19. http://mappingonlinepublics.net/@snurb_dot_info@jeanburgess@dpwoodford@lena_sauter@timhighfield@cdtavijit@socialmediaQUT

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