[Air-L] Social Media and Disasters: CAMRI seminar with Dhiraj Murthy, Nov 12

Christian Fuchs christian.fuchs at uti.at
Tue Nov 4 03:30:15 PST 2014

Social Media and Disasters: the Case of Hurricane Sandy and Twitter
Dhiraj Murthy
CAMRI Seminar
University of Westminster
Wed, Nov 12, 14:00
Harrow Campus
Room A7.1


Registration is possible per e-mail to christian.fuchs at uti.at, at latest 
until Nov 10

Sociological understandings of social media and disasters remain an 
emergent field. Despite major disasters in which victims and others have 
engaged over social media, we have limited understandings of the 
function of social media during disasters as well as the ad-hoc 
communities formed.

This presentation seeks to extend current scholarship on Twitter use 
during natural disasters through the exploration of tweets related to 
Hurricane Sandy. The storm caused over $65 billion in damage, making it 
the second costliest storm in U.S. history. We examine the behaviour of 
Twitter users over from October 22, 2012 to November 3, 2012, using 
mentions, links and hashtags for data analysis. All tweets relating to 
the storm during this period were collected.

Certain Twitter functionalities rose to prominence depending on the 
stage of the storm. For instance, in the days following Hurricane 
Sandy’s initial landfall, users became more interested in relief 
efforts. The conclusion is that behaviour in an anticipated natural 
disaster can be distilled into a framework of micro-events that take 
place within the larger context of the disaster and can be studied using 
comparative temporal methods.

Dhiraj Murthy is a Senior Lecturer of Sociology at Goldsmiths, 
University of London. His current research explores social media, 
virtual organizations, and big data quantitative analysis. His work on 
social networking technologies in virtual breeding grounds was funded by 
the National Science Foundation, Office of CyberInfrastructure. Dhiraj 
also has a book about Twitter published by Polity Press. He founded and 
directed the Social Network Innovation Lab, an interdisciplinary 
research group investigating social networks and virtual organizations.

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