RUOK? Blogging Communication Technologies During Crises



This article compares communication technologies within and across crises, using evidence from contemporary postings in 68,022 blogs and news feeds and using a semi-automatic method to detect words that increase in usage during a crisis. Three case studies from 2005 are used: the July 7 London attacks, the New Orleans hurricane, and the Pakistan-Kashmir earthquake. The results highlight the information provision importance for bloggers of Web 2.0 resources such as Wikinews, the Wikipedia, and the Flickr picture sharing site, although these still play a minor role in comparison to the mass media. Some personal communication methods were also mentioned significantly, including SMS and cellphones, but the newest technologies of those mentioned were all Web 2.0. The importance of electronic communication for bloggers was found to depend on the nature of the crisis: For example, despite the heavy Pakistan-Kashmir earthquake death toll, there was relatively little interest in related communication issues from English language bloggers and news sources.