Title: Twitter for crisis communication: lessons learned from Japan's tsunami disaster

Authors: Adam Acar, Yuya Muraki

Addresses: 651-2187 Gakuen-higashi-machi, Nishi-ku, 9-1, Kobe, Japan. ' 651-2187 Gakuen-higashi-machi, Nishi-ku, 9-1, Kobe, Japan

Abstract: Two weeks after the Great Tohoku earthquake followed by the devastating tsunami, we have sent open-ended questionnaires to a randomly selected sample of Twitter users and also analysed the tweets sent from the disaster-hit areas. We found that people in directly affected areas tend to tweet about their unsafe and uncertain situation while people in remote areas post messages to let their followers know that they are safe. Our analysis of the open-ended answers has revealed that unreliable retweets (RTs) on Twitter was the biggest problem the users have faced during the disaster. Some of the solutions offered by the respondents included introducing official hash tags, limiting the number of RTs for each hash tag and adding features that allow users to trace information by maintaining anonymity.

Keywords: Twitter; social networks; Japan; tsunami; disaster communication; crisis communication; emergency communication; communications technology; earthquakes; unreliable retweets; hash tags; social networking; disasters; emergency management; tweets.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2011.041206

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2011 Vol.7 No.3, pp.392 - 402

Published online: 13 Jul 2011 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article