What We Tweet About When We Tweet About Disasters: The Nature and Sources of Microblog Comments During Emergencies

November 2011 (VOL. 29, NO. 3)

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This study examines messages sent by users of the microblog service Twitter during natural and technological disasters. A constant comparison model is used to generate categories of content in an attempt to build an inductive picture of the kinds of messages microblog users seek and send during disasters. Results offer insights for communicators, planners, responders, and other professionals about how messages differ depending on disaster type, disaster size, and whether users are communication professionals or “citizen journalists.”