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Andrea Kavanaugh, Francis Quek, Steven D. Sheetz, & B. Joon Kim. (2010). Cell phone use with social ties during crises: The case of the Virginia Tech tragedy. In C. Zobel B. T. S. French (Ed.), ISCRAM 2010 – 7th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management: Defining Crisis Management 3.0, Proceedings. Seattle, WA: Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, ISCRAM.
Abstract: Many proposed technological solutions to emergency response during disasters involve the use of cellular telephone technology. However, cell phone networks quickly become saturated during and/or immediately after a disaster and remain saturated for critical periods. In this study, we investigated cell phone use by Virginia Tech students, faculty and staff during the shootings on April 16, 2007 to identify patterns of communication with social network ties. We administered an online survey to a random sample from our pool to capture communications behavior with social ties during the day of these tragic events. The results show that cell phones were the most heavily used communication technology by a majority of respondents (both voice and text messaging). While text messaging makes more efficient use of bandwidth than voice, most communication on 4/16 was with parents, since the majority of the sample is students, who are less likely to use text messaging. Our findings should help in understanding how cell phone technologies may be utilized or modified for emergency situations in similar communities.
Keywords: Cellular telephones; Disasters; Information systems; Mobile phones; Telecommunication equipment; Cell phone; Communication technologies; Emergency communication; Emergency response; Emergency situation; Patterns of communication; Survey research; Technological solution; Text messaging
Steven D. Sheetz, Andrea Kavanaugh, Francis Quek, B. Joon Kim, & Szu-Chia Lu. (2009). Expectation of connectedness and cell phone use in crisis. In S. J. J. Landgren (Ed.), ISCRAM 2009 – 6th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management: Boundary Spanning Initiatives and New Perspectives. Gothenburg: Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, ISCRAM.
Abstract: The wide distribution of cell phones with messaging, email, and instant-messaging have enabled the emergence of a culture of connectedness among segments of society. One result of this culture is an expectation of availability that exists among members of these social networks. This study explores the potential for this expectation to influence perceptions of using information communications technologies (ICT) during and after a crisis. Online survey and follow-up semi-structured interviews were conducted with Virginia Tech (VT) students, faculty and staff to understand whether expectations of connectedness affected their perceptions of their reach-ability during crises. Participants with higher expectations of connectedness also reported more problems with reach-ability. Those with the most problems with reach-ability differed from those with no reachability problems for many variables including satisfaction with the cell phone service, age, number of calls/text messages, and extroversion. Results suggest these communities consider planning how to use ICT during emergencies.
Keywords: Information systems; Mobile phones; Telecommunication equipment; Cell phone; Cell phone service; Emergency communication; Information communication; Qualitative; Reachability problem; Semi structured interviews; Structured interview; Cellular telephones