The Role of Social Media Network Participants in Extreme Events

Ehnis C, Mirbabaie M, Bunker D, Stieglitz S

How does the use of social media platforms like Twitter impact the network role of an emergency management agency (EMA) like the Berlin police and its relationships with other network roles in an extreme event such as the 1st of May Labour Day? How do properties of the social media communication network determine EMA and other network role relations and the overall network configuration? We argue that trust (-worthiness) is a central non-relational attribute of an EMA role which is based on perceptions of EMA integrity and which influences role relationships within the social network. As EMAs are also responsible for taking action to protect the community in times of such an extreme event, we also argue that “swift trust” is built within EMA roles. EMA roles are also reinforced by the non-relational role attribute of communication quality that reflects message authenticity, in this case “transparent and understandable” communications that are expected of an EMA.

social media, crises communication, emergency

Publication type
Conference Paper

Peer reviewed

Publication status


25th Australasian Conference on Information Systems

Auckland, New Zealand