University of Twente Student Theses


The role of social media in disaster communication: the case of hurricane Harvey

Möbius, S.V. (2018) The role of social media in disaster communication: the case of hurricane Harvey.

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Abstract:Social media accompany people in their lives, going beyond the sole purpose of entertaining and maintaining contact. Instead, the social media increasingly complement and replace the role of traditional media regarding rapid distribution of breaking news and introduce a new collaborative two-way form of communication. It is therefore inevitable for the public sector to implement this new media in all areas, one of them being disaster management and communication. With the help of a comparative analysis, this research investigates to what degree official disaster response communication guidelines and the social media activity of public institutions during disasters take the increased need for social media communication into account with a single case study. Data from relevant government documents were compared and related to Twitter data, produced during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. Among others, methods like an Social Network Analysis and Natural Language Processing made the raw Twitter data utilizable. The main findings of this study are that the official guidelines and the Twitter activity of public institutions in the case of Hurricane Harvey do not sufficiently consider social media as part of disaster communication. This results in recommendations for policy- and decision-making in the field of disaster management.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies, 88 social and public administration
Programme:Management Society and Technology BSc (56654)
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