Study questions Twitter’s role in disaster aftermath

by Maria Elena Hurtado, SciDev.net, June 5, 2012

A study has cast doubt on the innovative role that some claim Twitter, the ‘microblogging’ social media tool, can play in generating new information during disasters, although it did find that ‘tweets’ speed up the exchange of existing information. An analysis of tweets sent by people in the United States following the emergency at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant found that most linked to traditional news outlets, such as the New York Times and CNN, for updates. “Since tweeters clearly did not have the expertise [on radiation] nor could they find others on Twitter or in the blogosphere who did, they relied on traditional news media,” study author Andrew Binder, at the department of communication at North Carolina State University, United States, told SciDev.Net. The paper, to be published in the June edition of Environmental Communication, shows changes in the quantity and content of 2,359 tweets from the United States on the nuclear emergency in the two weeks after 11 March 2011, when the disaster was first reported. …

For full text of this news article, visit Study questions Twitter’s role in disaster aftermath – SciDev.Net.

Link to abstract in Environmental Communication
Link to abstract in International Journal of Web Based Communities
Link to paper by Mendoza and colleagues
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