Department of Business Development and Technology

Gerardo Zarazua de Rubens

Social media and disasters: human security, environmental racism, and crisis communication in Hurricane Irma response

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Social media have been widely recognized as critical communication channel in disaster situations. However, there is limited empirical investigation on how the intersecting issues of social order, environmental impacts, and crisis communication unfold from the perspective of a social media user. This study examines 60,449 tweets to and from the news media in Florida during and immediately after Hurricane Irma in September, 2017. Based on a critical review of the literature coupled with an eight-category coding scheme (including second-hand reporting, reporting on self-experience, requesting help, coordinating relief efforts, and expressing well wishes), the article assesses the content and timing of tweets before, during, and after the storm. It finds that thematically, twitter coverage not only covers the storm itself but pressing social issues such as looting, price gouging, the privileging of elites in rebuilding efforts, environmental vulnerability, and abandoning pets. Temporally, the volume of different tweets peaked and dropped at different stages; for example, tweets about personal experience peaked when the hurricane hit the ground while requests for help peaked in the days after the hurricane. The study allows for a better understanding of the sociological, environmental, and even social justice impacts and related disaster response through the use of social media.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Sociology
Pages (from-to)291-306
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

    Research areas

  • content analysis, disasters, hurricane recovery, Social media, tweets, Twitter, RECOVERY, TWEETS, POWER, TWITTER

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 187176420