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TWITTER AND DISASTERS

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This research explores the specific use of the prominent social media website Twitter during the 2010 Pakistan floods to examine whether users tend to tweet/retweet links from traditional versus social media, what countries these users are tweeting from, and whether there is a correlation between location and the linking of traditional versus social media. The study finds that Western users have an overwhelming preference for linking to traditional media and Pakistani users have a slight preference for linking to social media. The study also concludes that authorities and hubs in our sample have a significant preference for linking to social media rather than traditional media sites. The findings of this study suggest that there is a perceived legitimacy of social media during disasters by users in Pakistan. Additionally, it provides insights into how social media may be – albeit minimally – challenging the dominant position of traditional media in disaster reporting in developing countries.
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Keywords: Twitter; authority; network ties; new media; social factors; social network analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Bowdoin College, 7000 College Station Brunswick, ME, 04011, USA 2: Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME, 04011, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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