Analysis: Australian Flood Study

The Proceedings from the Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems conference in 2011 are an interesting document to look into, and are particularly relevant to some of the topics of discussion in BCM210. This article presents research and results from a study of how people use twitter. In this particular case, the actions of individuals, news organisations and emergency services on twitter during the string of floods throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria in 2010 and 2011. More specifically, the research aimed to:

“…develop an understanding of the online communities for the Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian floods in order to identify active players and their effectiveness in disseminating critical information.”

It also aimed to see what sorts of important information were shared online.

The paper goes into detail about how these times of emergency lead to collective behaviours from the public, and all commentary about these social and behavioural effects is well referenced by the authors, who have clearly put a considerable amount of work into creating this report – It shows a respect for both their research and the research they used to assist. (Although, it does reference Wikipedia. Sketchy stuff.)

This kind of research could be vital in a growing social media economy, with the use of twitter as a way to share information quickly and accessibly shown to be very efficient both in day-to-day breaking news, as well as in this research.

There are many possible stakeholders in this research, most of which are highlighted in the data collected.

The article found that during the Queensland floods, there were a few groups of people who were prevalent on twitter, sharing information to the masses. This included the Queensland Police Force, Political personalities like the Premier and Prime Minister, social media volunteers and people from non-for-profit groups such as charities. Interestingly however, Queensland was by far the most active state on twitter, with almost nothing on twitter during the New South Wales floods, which as the article states cold have something to do with the severity of each flood. From this though we can see some clear stakeholders in this research. Along with these would be telecommunications companies who would have been relied on for this communication, and the general public, particularly victims of the flooding.

As far as reading the document goes, it is unsurprisingly not for the casual reader. It requires a bit of knowledge in the area, and the graphics can be difficult to get your head around. However if you can get into it, it’s a very interesting read.

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