Inderscience Publishers

Twitter adoption and use in mass convergence and emergency events

This paper offers a descriptive account of Twitter (a microblogging service) across four high-profile, mass convergence events – two emergency and two national security. We statistically examine how Twitter is being used surrounding these events, and compare and contrast how that behaviour is different from more general Twitter use. Our findings suggest that Twitter messages sent during these types of events contain more displays of information broadcasting and brokerage, and we observe that general Twitter use seems to have evolved over time to offer more of an information-sharing purpose. We also provide preliminary evidence that Twitter users who join during and in apparent relation to a mass convergence or emergency event are more likely to become long-term adopters of the technology.

Keywords: twitter messages, tweets, microblogging, crisis informatics, emergency management, mass convergence, social media, national security, information broadcasting, brokerage, information sharing, Democratic National Convention, Republican National Convention, Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Ike, USA, United States

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