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Social Media in Disasters (and a Call for PhD Students)

I’m still blogging somewhat selectively from the Australia New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management conference, given that some of the presentations here really are well outside my own research area. I’m here, though, because I’m presenting a paper with my QUT colleague Jean Burgess on our research into the use of Twitter following the 2010/11 earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand. The presentation is below (with audio to come soon, hopefully), and the full paper is also online.

This research is also associated with a new ARC Linkage-funded three-year research project on “Social Media in Times of Crisis” which we’re undertaking along with the Queensland Department for Community Safety and the Eidos Institute. There’s a PhD scholarship attached to this project, and we’re now looking for expressions of interest for this position, to commence shortly: students will be embedded with the DCS in Brisbane to develop, deploy, and evaluate enhanced strategies for the Department’s use of social media; they will also need to develop connections to other relevant emergency and media institutions. Students with strong connections to the local Brisbane and south-east Queensland community would be ideal. If you’re interested, please get in touch: a.bruns [at]

Here’s today’s presentation:


Thanks for putting this lecture online, I really enjoyed it. I am currently doing Hons. thesis on "Social media use in crisis communication" at Curtin University so Twitter is an obvious area of study so really appreciate this work. I'm a big user of Twitter myself and in fact manage several profiles so I'd say you've almost certainly tracked some of my connections. Another area of interest is the way that Twitter is used as soapbox and quite often things are said in the heat of the moment giving unfiltered reactions to events, so I suppose the next step will be to analyse the tone and attitudes of the connections. I recently read the work from Jaram Park, Meeyoung Cha, Hoh Kim Jaeseung, JeongGraduate from School of Culture Technology, KAIST team "Managing Bad News in Social Media: A Case Study on Domino’s Pizza Crisis". This work bravely tried to analyse the actual content and helps to show how bad news travels faster than good, which supports you finding that during a crisis there is more clustering on the event, more RTs.
Looking forward to reading more of your work when it becomes available,
Best Regards
Jane Power
Twitter: ozychk21