Policy ForumSocial Media Research

Crisis informatics—New data for extraordinary times

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Science  15 Jul 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6296, pp. 224-225
DOI: 10.1126/science.aag2579

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Summary

Crisis informatics is a multidisciplinary field combining computing and social science knowledge of disasters; its central tenet is that people use personal information and communication technology to respond to disaster in creative ways to cope with uncertainty. We study and develop computational support for collection and sociobehavioral analysis of online participation (i.e., tweets and Facebook posts) to address challenges in disaster warning, response, and recovery. Because such data are rarely tidy, we offer lessons—learned the hard way, as we have made every mistake described below—with respect to the opportunities and limitations of social media research on crisis events.