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Jeannette N. Sutton. (2010). Twittering Tennessee: Distributed networks and collaboration following a technological disaster. 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: Informal communication channels are often the primary means by which time-sensitive hazard information first reaches members of the public. The capacity for informal communications has been recently transformed by the widespread adoption of social media technologies, such as the micro-blogging service Twitter, which allows individuals to interact with a broad audience over great distances. During a disaster or crisis event, this networked communication mechanism provides a means to communicate information and facilitate collaboration both locally and among distributed networks. This paper examines the use of Twitter following a technological disaster, showing how geographically dispersed individuals broadcast information about the impact of the disaster and its long-term effects, in contrast with the dearth of participation among public officials and industry representatives. Non-local users challenged authoritative accounts of the disaster and corrected misinformation. Conclusions are provided for policy makers and suggestions are offered for further research.