Listening to social media content during disasters.
There is no doubt that listening to affected population before, during and after a disaster in social media platforms is a comprehensive and cost-effective way to get a collective intelligence overview of the situation or situational awareness and the evolution throughout time. The process consists of gathering, classifying and analyzing the social media conversations to generate situational awareness reports that serve to inform decision makers in charge of different areas of the operation (communications, logistics, damage assessment, search and rescue, health and sanitary services, etc). However, making sense of the constantly changing data streams of content (text, video and images) from both humans and bots during a disaster is a cumbersome task that is likely to be aided by technology. Who takes charge of this complex task? The social media listener along with the technological tools he/she has access to, his/her expertise, the constant changing content streams, and his/her workload and physical endurance throughout the duration of the disaster. The aim of this study is to understand and conceptualize this sociotechnical system characterized by the complexities of the above-mentioned components and relations from an exploratory approach. Furthermore, the findings of this study will attempt to start a conversation about the social media listener and encourage future research, training, and design approaches and future evolution of social media platforms, technology and processes to listen to social media content during disasters.
Lucia Castro Herrera is a PHD candidate at the Information Systems department at the University of Agder. She holds a MSc. In Engineering & Management with a concentration in Crisis, Emergency and Risk Management form The George Washington University, US and a BA in Government and International Relations from Universidad Externado de Colombia. Her research interests include crisis, disaster and risk management, social media analytics, crisis communications, logistics and process improvement.
Associate professor Tim Majchrzak and professor Devinder Thapa