The Psychology Behind People's Decision to Forward Disaster-Related Tweets

15 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2014

See all articles by Huaye Li

Huaye Li

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business

Yasuaki Sakamoto

AXA Direct Japan

Rongjuan Chen

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business

Yuko Tanaka

National Institute of Informatics

Date Written: July 29, 2014

Abstract

During a disaster, information spreads through social media. Although information that can save lives exists in social media, it can be difficult to find because it is buried under a sea of unverified information. One challenge in improving the use of social media for disaster management is to facilitate the spread of actionable information that improves people’s well-being and at the same time reduce the spread of misinformation that confuses people and interferes with the discovery of useful information. To this end, we study the psychology of message forwarding in social media. Based on the understanding of the psychology, we develop recommendations for designing tools that augment the forwarding decisions of individuals such that useful information spreads in social media. Here, we present the results from analyzing the forwarding of tweets related to the disasters caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. The results from questionnaires suggest that people will be more likely to share a disaster-related message in a social media environment when they perceive the message as more important, accurate, anxiety provoking, familiar, informative, and fluent. The implications of the results on improving the quality of information in social media during disaster response are discussed.

Keywords: Information spread, Forwarding behavior, Social media, Disaster response

Suggested Citation

Li, Huaye and Sakamoto, Yasuaki and Chen, Rongjuan and Tanaka, Yuko, The Psychology Behind People's Decision to Forward Disaster-Related Tweets (July 29, 2014). Howe School Research Paper No. 2014-36. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2473544 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2473544

Huaye Li (Contact Author)

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business ( email )

Hoboken, NJ 07030
United States

Yasuaki Sakamoto

AXA Direct Japan ( email )

Japan

Rongjuan Chen

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business ( email )

Hoboken, NJ 07030
United States

Yuko Tanaka

National Institute of Informatics ( email )

2-1-2 Hitotsubashi
Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo, 1018430
Japan

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