Sense‐Making in Social Media During Extreme Events

12 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2018

See all articles by Stefan Stieglitz

Stefan Stieglitz

University of Duisburg-Essen - Department of Computer Science and Applied Cognitive Science

Deborah Bunker

The University of Sydney - Business Information Systems

Milad Mirbabaie

University of Duisburg-Essen - Department of Computer Science and Applied Cognitive Science

Christian Ehnis

The University of Sydney - Business Information Systems

Date Written: March 2018

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Stieglitz, Stefan and Bunker, Deborah and Mirbabaie, Milad and Ehnis, Christian, Sense‐Making in Social Media During Extreme Events (March 2018). Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Vol. 26, Issue 1, pp. 4-15, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3123415 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-5973.12193

Stefan Stieglitz (Contact Author)

University of Duisburg-Essen - Department of Computer Science and Applied Cognitive Science ( email )

Lotharstrasse 1
Duisburg, 47048
Germany

Deborah Bunker

The University of Sydney - Business Information Systems ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NC 2006
United States

Milad Mirbabaie

University of Duisburg-Essen - Department of Computer Science and Applied Cognitive Science

Lotharstrasse 1
Duisburg, 47048
Germany

Christian Ehnis

The University of Sydney - Business Information Systems

University of Sydney
Sydney, NC 2006
United States

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