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Post one:

Question 1: Find a case study showing how social media can be used for situational awareness, instruction or preparedness activities and discuss.

“Microblogging after a major disaster in China: a case study of the 2010 Yushu earthquake. In Proceedings of the ACM 2011 conference on Computer supported cooperative work”

The case study as stated above explains the use of microbiology by Chinese internet users. The application of this tool played an essential role in 2010 when the country experienced the Yushu Earthquake. Qu et al. (2011) define microbiology as an example of easily accessible social media that shows unique features and enables users to interact globally as well as providing information to them. According to the study, these people used the tool in the process of determination of the role of microbiology in addressing any disaster. The Chinese internet users examined various aspects in the quest as stated above such as trends, message content and the development of this messages over time. One of the leading microbiology websites in the country served as the primary platform that people used in this analysis.

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake occurred in Yushu, China and resulted in 2698 people losing their lives while many more left homeless and missing as well. During this incident, many News providing platforms, which does not limit to the social media took the initiative to inform the country about this tragedy. As a result, many people across the various social media platforms showed their feeling by sending condolences as well as organizing for donations. Sina Weibo, one of the social mediums in the country helped in providing a forum where people could express their emotions. This social media platform alone attracted more than 90,000 microblog posts for the first 48 hours of the incident. People who analyzed the microblog message examined the personal data of the different people who posted as well as the various reposts that linked with this occurrence. Following that, the researcher of the case study used the obtained data to formulate some questions as well as a valid conclusion. The arising items from this study include;

  • How does information related to any disaster reach different people through a microbial system?
  • In the case of an emergency, what specific messages do people post to address the disaster?
  • Do there exist a particular trend in which people post concerning the accident in question.

From the above questions, the study showed that microbiology served as a useful tool for updating the world about the situation and also providing a platform where people could express their emotions. The above conclusion arose from the amount of case-related posts that followed the earthquake. A large population used this platform to call for immediate action as well as asking for support from humanitarians to give a hand in addressing this situation. A closer analysis of the entire situation showed that people took time in posting opinion related updates as compared to the rapid case related messages to the social media news platform.

Although this study succeeded in providing the required information to the researchers, they stated that they faced various challenges. Collection of data serves as the first challenge that the investigation brought about to the involved researchers. This challenge mainly arose since the researcher depended on specific keywords to help in data collection. Despite the challenges, the study helped in forming a crucial foundation that can help in further studies related to the situation in question. Besides, as a result of the success of this study, people can still conduct further studies to try to explain more about the response by the various agencies as well as means that can help in improving disaster management approach in the country.


Qu, Y., Huang, C., Zhang, P., & Zhang, J. (2011, March). Microblogging after a major disaster in China: a case study of the 2010 Yushu earthquake. In Proceedings of the ACM 2011 conference on Computer supported cooperative work (pp. 25-34). ACM.

Post Two:

Find a case study showing how social media can be used for situational awareness, instruction or preparedness activities and discuss.

Social media plays an important role in reshaping how to respond to natural disasters and to cope with crises, especially as mobile phone use has risen from 24% of the American population in 2008 to 81% in 2017 (Edison Research, 2017). Social media became popular to the extent that newspapers reporters and TV channels do live broadcasts from the sites of events through social media platforms. Social media were used successfully in many disasters in delivering food items and other relief efforts for the people affected, in the 2010 Japan earthquake, Hurricane Sandy and the Haiti earthquake.

On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced a 9.1 magnitude earthquake that caused a tsunami which killed 15,895 people. Social media was a huge help in this event through helping in capturing and sharing information about events happened to the individuals, as well as assisting in shaping the nature of the event (Hjorth & Kim, 2011). This example shows a glimpse of the role that social media can play in a disaster. Yet, it raises questions about the best ways to utilize social media in a disaster response.

Situation monitoring and tracking of news have been made much easier with the well-organized platforms presented by social media. The disaster management personnel can have a better understanding of what the public think and do in the time of the disaster, which will help to shape some decisions regarding evacuation and transportation. Surprisingly, the possibility of the spread of rumors is not increased by social media. Bird et al. suggest that even though false information can spread easily in social media, the presence of well-informed people will eliminate those rumors over a short period of time (Bird et al., 2012). For example, in the earthquake mentioned above, there was a very little indication that the use of social media by the Japanese public led in any way to spreading of incorrect rumors or false information (Hjorth & Kim, 2011).


Bird, D., Ling, M., & Haynes, K. (2012). Flooding Facebook-the use of social media during the Queensland and Victorian floods. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, The, 27(1), 27.

Edison Research – The Infinite Dial, (2017). Retrieved from…

Hjorth, L., & Kim, K. H. Y. (2011). The mourning after: A case study of social media in the 3.11 earthquake disaster in Japan. Television & New Media, 12(6), 552-559.