Coming Together Around Hashtags: Exploring the Formation of Digital Emergent Citizen Groups

Andrew S Pyle, Brandon Boatwright

Abstract


It has been well established that during and after crisis or emergency events, groups of citizens come together to help one another, solve problems, and manage recovery or cleanup. These groups are called emergent citizen groups. They form organically and often disband when the emergency is managed. This study proposes that similar types of groups now form in digital spaces during and after crises. The authors studied conversation on Twitter that used the hashtag “#PrayforUSC” after the murder-suicide that took place at the University of South Carolina in 2015. Initial results indicate that hashtags can function as focal points or catalysts for digital emergent citizen groups. More research should be done to determine whether and how these groups form, function, and disperse.


Keywords


Crisis; Disaster; Twitter; Emergent Groups; Social Media

Full Text:

PDF

References


Aldrich, D. P. (2011). The power of people: Social capital's role in recovery from the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Natural Hazards, 56(3), 595-611. doi:10.1007/s11069-010-9577-7

Arkes, H. R., Hackett, C., & Boehm, L. (1989). The generality of the relation between familiarity and judged validity. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 2(2), 81-94.

boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 13(1), 210-230. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00393.x

Castells, M. (2000). Materials for an exploratory theory of network society. British Journal of Sociology, 54(1), 5-24. doi:10.1111/j.1468-4446.2000.00005.x

Carolina Alert [CarolinaAlert]. (2015, February 5). SHOOTING AT NEW SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH. Remain indoors. Obey officials. http://Sc.edu/carolinaalert. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/CarolinaAlert/status/563403726795571200

Corbin, J. & Strauss, A. (2015). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Drabek, T. E., & McEntire, D. A. (2003). Emergent phenomena and the sociology of disaster: Lessons, trends, and opportunities from the research literature. Disaster Prevention and Management, 12(2), 97-112. doi:10.1108/09653560310474214

Earle, P., Bowden, D., & Guy, M. (2012). Twitter earthquake detection: Earthquake monitoring in a social world. Annals of Geophysics, 54(6), 708-715. doi:10.4401/ag-5364

Edwards, C., Edwards, A., Spence, P. R., & Shelton, A. K. (2014). Is that a bot running the social media feed? Testing the differences in perceptions of communication quality for a human agent and a bot agent on Twitter. Computers in Human Behavior, 33, 372-376. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.08.013

Glasgow, K., & Fink, C. (2013). Hashtag lifespan and social networks during the London riots. In A. M. Greenberg, W. G. Kennedy, & N. D. Bos (Eds.), Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction (pp. 311-320). Berlin, Germany: Springer.

Guzmán, M. (2013). After Boston, still learning. Quill, 101(3), 22-25.

Hawkins, S. A., Hoch, S. J., & Meyers-Levy, J. (2001). Low-involvement learning: Repetition and coherence in familiarity and belief. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 11(1), 1-11. doi:10.1207/S15327663JCP1101_1

Heverin, T. & Zach, L. (2011) Twitter for city police department information sharing. Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 47(1), 1–7. doi:10.1002/meet.14504701277

Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2011). The early bird catches the news: Nine things you should know about micro-blogging. Business Horizons, 54(2), 105-113. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2010.09.004

Majchrzak, A., Jarvenpaa, S. L., & Hollingshead, A. B. (2007). Coordinating expertise among emergent groups responding to disasters. Organization Science, 18(1), 147-161. doi:10.1287/orsc.1060.0228

McLeod, H. (2015, February 6). Professor among two dead in University of South Carolina shooting. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-south-carolina-shooting/professor-among-two-dead-in-university-of-south-carolina-shooting-idUSKBN0LA21E20150206

Palen, L., Vieweg, S., Liu, S., & Hughes, A. L. (2009). Crisis in a networked world: Features of computer-mediated communication in the April 16, 2007 Virginia tech event. Social Science Computer Review, 27, 467-480. doi:10.1177/0894439309332302

Perrin, A. (2015). Social media usage 2005-2015. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/

Prince, S. H. (1920). Catastrophe and social change, based upon a sociological study of the Halifax disaster, (No. 212-214), 8-147. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Quarantelli, E. L., & Dynes, R. R. (1977). Response to social crisis and disaster. Annual Review of Sociology, 3, 23-49. doi:10.1146/annurev.so.03.080177.000323

Sanderson, J. E. (2014). Shaping, driving, engaging, and influencing in 140 characters: Exploring Twitter’s role in a labor dispute. Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, 15(1), 43-50. doi:10.1080/17459435.2014.955591

Saulny, S., & Davey, M. (2008, February 15). Gunman slays 6 at N. Illinois University. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/15/us/15shoot.html?pagewanted=all

Shapira, I., & Jackman, T. (2007, April 17). Gunman kills 32 at Virginia Tech in deadliest shooting in U.S. history. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/16/AR2007041600533.html

Shklovski, I., Palen, L., and Sutton, J. (2008), Finding community through information and communication technology during disaster events. Proceedings of the ACM 2008 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download;jsessionid=82704C1CDDD6949FA92458E68FE1E9FE?doi=10.1.1.422.1794&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Stallings, R., & Quarantelli, E. (1985). Emergent citizen groups and emergency management. Public Administration Review, 45, 93-100. doi:10.2307/3135003

Stelter, B. (2017, August 28). How social media is helping Houston deal with Harvey floods. CNNMoney. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/28/media/harvey-rescues-social-media-facebook-twitter/index.html

Sutton, J., Palen, L., and Shklovski, I. (2008), Backchannels on the front lines: Emergent uses of social media in the 2007 Southern California wildfires. Proceedings of the 8th ISCRAM Conference. Retrieved from http://cmci.colorado.edu/~palen/Papers/iscram08/BackchannelsISCRAM08.pdf

Sutton, J., Spiro E., Johnson, B., Fitzhugh, S., Gibson, B., & Butts, C. (2013) Warning tweets: Serial transmission of messages during the warning phase of a disaster event. Information, Communication & Society, 17(6), 765 – 787. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2013.862561

Tierney, K. J., M. K. Lindell, R. W. Perry. (2001). Facing the unexpected: Disaster preparedness and response in the United States. Washington, D.C.: Joseph Henry Press.

Tierney, K. J., & Trainor, J. E. (2004). Networks and resilience in the World Trade Center disaster. Buffalo, NY: Center for Earthquake Engineering Research.

Timeline: The San Bernardino shooting and aftermath step by step (2015, December 6). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/visuals/graphics/la-g-san-bernardino-shooting-timeline-20151204-htmlstory.html

Twitter. (2018). About Twitter. Retrieved from https://about.twitter.com

Ulmer, R. R., Sellnow, T. L., & Seeger, M. W. (2015). Effective crisis communication: Moving from crisis to opportunity (3rd ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Vicary, A. M., & Fraley, R. C. (2010). Student reactions to the shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University: Does sharing grief and support over the Internet affect recovery? Personal and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 1555–1563. doi:10.1177/0146167210384880

Waldman, S., & Kaminska, K. (2015). Connecting emergency management organizations with digitally enabled emergent volunteering (Report No. DRDC-RDDC-2015-R271). Retrieved from Defence Research and Development Canada: http://cradpdf.drdc-rddc.gc.ca/PDFS/unc214/p803152_A1b.pdf

Waldman, S., Yumagulova, L., Mackwani, Z., Benson, C., & Stone, J. T. (2017). Canadian citizens volunteering in disasters: From emergence to networked governance. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management. doi:10.1111/1468-5973.12206

Webster, M. (2011, April). Christchurch and the student volunteer army. NZ Herald. Retrieved from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/news/article.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=10717987

White, M., & Dorman, S. M. (2001). Receiving social support online: Implications for health education. Health Education Research, 16(6), 693-707. doi:10.1093/her/16.6.693

Wigley, S., & Fontenot, M. (2010). Crisis managers losing control of the message: A pilot study of the Virginia Tech shooting. Public Relations Review, 36, 187-189. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2010.01.003

Zhao, D., & Rosson, M. B. (2009, May). How and why people Twitter: The role that micro-blogging plays in informal communication at work. In Proceedings of the ACM 2009 International Conference on Supporting Group Work (pp. 243-252). New York: ACM.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.32473/jpic.v2.i1.p3

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2018 Andrew S Pyle, Brandon Boatwright

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/