Twitter Use in Hurricane Isaac and Its Implications to Disaster Resilience

Authors: Kejin Wang*, Louisiana State University, Nina Siu Ngan Lam, Louisiana State University, Lei Zou, Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, Volodymyr Mihunov, Louisiana State University
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Social Geography
Keywords: Twitter, Disaster Resilience, Hurricane, Social Media
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 7
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Disaster resilience is the capacity of a community to ‘bounce back’ from disastrous events. Most studies rely on traditional data such as the census data to study community resilience. With the advent of social media era, new data sources such as Twitter could be utilized to better understand disaster resilience. A research question is: does Twitter use correlate with disaster resilience? In other words, will communities with more Twitter users be more resilient to disasters, presumably because they have better situation awareness? The underlying issue is that if there are social and geographical disparities in Twitter use, how will such disparities affect communities’ resilience to disasters? This study examines if there is a relationship between Twitter use and community resilience during Hurricane Isaac, which hit Louisiana and Mississippi in August 2012. First, we applied the Resilience Inference Measurement (RIM) model to calculate the resilience indices of 146 affected counties. Second, we examined the Twitter data during Hurricane Isaac and correlated the Twitter use density with a set of social-environmental variables to see if there were significant geographical and social disparities in Twitter use through the three main phases of emergency management (Preparedness, Response, and Recovery). Third, we conducted correlation between twitter use pattern and the composite RIM resilience index. Results show that communities with higher socioeconomic conditions, higher hurricane threats, or higher RIM scores tend to have more Twitter activities, suggesting that twitter use activities could be managed and enhanced to increase community resilience to disasters.

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