Sense‐Making in Social Media During Extreme Events
12 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2018
Date Written: March 2018
During an extreme event, individuals use social media to communicate, self‐organize, manage, and mitigate risks (crisis‐related communications) but also to make sense of the event (commentary‐related communications). This study focuses on commentary‐based social media communication practices of Twitter users to understand the processes and patterns of inter‐subjective sense‐making during an extreme event. We analyse Twitter communication generated during three events: The Sydney Lindt Café Siege (2014), the Germanwings plane crash (2015), and the Brussels Terror Attacks (2016). We focus on the (i) communication structure, (ii) emotionality of the content via sentiment analyses, and (iii) influence of Twitter users on communications via social network analyses. We identified differences in the communication structures between the three events, which suggests a research agenda focussed on inter‐subjective sense‐making through the use of social media platforms, would make a significant contribution to knowledge about social media adoption and use in extreme events.
Keywords: crisis communication, information systems, sense‐making, social media, Twitter
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