Social media and disasters: a functional framework for social media use in disaster planning, response, and research.

Research paper by J Brian JB Houston, Joshua J Hawthorne, Mildred F MF Perreault, Eun Hae EH Park, Marlo M Goldstein Hode, Michael R MR Halliwell, Sarah E SE Turner McGowen, Rachel R Davis, Shivani S Vaid, Jonathan A JA McElderry, Stanford A SA Griffith

Indexed on: 23 Sep '14Published on: 23 Sep '14Published in: Disasters


A comprehensive review of online, official, and scientific literature was carried out in 2012-13 to develop a framework of disaster social media. This framework can be used to facilitate the creation of disaster social media tools, the formulation of disaster social media implementation processes, and the scientific study of disaster social media effects. Disaster social media users in the framework include communities, government, individuals, organisations, and media outlets. Fifteen distinct disaster social media uses were identified, ranging from preparing and receiving disaster preparedness information and warnings and signalling and detecting disasters prior to an event to (re)connecting community members following a disaster. The framework illustrates that a variety of entities may utilise and produce disaster social media content. Consequently, disaster social media use can be conceptualised as occurring at a number of levels, even within the same disaster. Suggestions are provided on how the proposed framework can inform future disaster social media development and research.