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Title: Social Media in Citizen-Led Disaster Response: Rescuer Roles, Coordination Challenges, and Untapped Potential

Widespread disasters can overload official agencies’ capacity to provide assistance, and often citizen-led groups emerge to assist with disaster response. As social media platforms have expanded, emergent rescue groups have many ways to harness network and mobile tools to coordinate actions and help fellow citizens. This study used semi-structured interviews and photo elicitation techniques to better understand how wide-scale rescues occurred during the 2017 Hurricane Harvey flooding in the Greater Houston, Texas USA area. We found that citizens used diverse apps and social media-related platforms during these rescues and that they played one of three roles: rescuer, dispatcher, or information compiler. The key social media coordination challenges these rescuers faced were incomplete feedback loops, unclear prioritization, and communication overload. This work-in-progress paper contributes to the field of crisis and disaster response research by sharing the nuances in how citizens use social media to respond to calls for help from flooding victims.
Authors:
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Award ID's:
1760453
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10076203
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the ... International ISCRAM Conference
ISSN:
2411-3387
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation