Thesis Series: Twituational Awareness Using Crowdsourced #Disaster Epidemiology: Three Cases of Twituational Awareness

Interview — video.
Dan Cain.

Public health and other agencies need situational awareness to respond effectively to dangerous situations. Traditional means of obtaining this information requires significant time and personnel. Research demonstrates that social media may be a useful tool for bolstering information about unfolding events. A recent study showed that the microblogging service Twitter shows particular potential in providing situational awareness. Tweets from a major snowstorm affecting the state of Massachusetts were collected, coded for content, and compared to traditional public health methods. The results indicate that Twitter can provide a rich source of data for responding agencies. Practical approaches uncovered during this research can help agencies with nascent social media surveillance programs begin to unearth the valuable information that Twitter contains. Collaboration with information technology experts could allow public health and other responding agencies to truly benefit from social media platforms.

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The full pdf of this thesis is available in the Homeland Security Digital Library at


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