RESCUE research on social media use in emergencies

Visualizing Networks in WP3

by evagold

The Austrian team involved in work package 3 (WP3) in the RESCUE project recently was supported by visiting scholar Yogita KUCHANKAR from IIT Kanpur.

One way to investigate social media use in emergencies is to make use of digital methods and visual analytics techniques. This is one of the strategies used in the RESCUE project. Our colleague Yogita is in Austria for a research intern in communication and journalism, but has a background in engineering and computer science. This led to a fruitful collaboration in investigating the communication flow in the case of the 2013 floods in Austria for WP3, especially concerning the involved networks on social media and Facebook in particular.

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The newsfeed of any user on Facebook mainly shows two types of information – one is the shared status updates and information from their friends and the other is the news from the liked public pages. Thus, one of the most effective ways to study the information flow on social networking sites is by extracting and examining a network of the pages established. These pages – set up by a number of nonprofit organisations, fire brigades, volunteer organisations, media houses, etc. – post or not post information during emergency situations. An efficient way to track the public flow of information is thus by studying the network formed by these pages.

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