Computer Science Technical Reports
CS at VT

Social Media for Cities, Counties and Communities

Kavanaugh, Andrea and Fox, Edward and Sheetz, Steven and Yang, Seungwon and Li, Lin Tzy and Whalen, Travis and Shoemaker, Donald and Nastev, Apostel and Xie, Lexing (2011) Social Media for Cities, Counties and Communities. Technical Report TR-11-09, Computer Science, Virginia Tech.

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Social media (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube) and other tools and services with user- generated content have made a staggering amount of information (and misinformation) available. Some government officials seek to leverage these resources to improve services and communication with citizens, especially during crises and emergencies. Yet, the sheer volume of social data streams generates substantial noise that must be filtered. Potential exists to rapidly identify issues of concern for emergency management by detecting meaningful patterns or trends in the stream of messages and information flow. Similarly, monitoring these patterns and themes over time could provide officials with insights into the perceptions and mood of the community that cannot be collected through traditional methods (e.g., phone or mail surveys) due to their substantive costs, especially in light of reduced and shrinking budgets of governments at all levels. We conducted a pilot study in 2010 with government officials in Arlington, Virginia (and to a lesser extent representatives of groups from Alexandria and Fairfax, Virginia) with a view to contributing to a general understanding of the use of social media by government officials as well as community organizations, businesses and the public. We were especially interested in gaining greater insight into social media use in crisis situations (whether severe or fairly routine crises, such as traffic or weather disruptions).

Item Type:Departmental Technical Report
Keywords:social media, twitter, youtube, facebook, digital government, crisis informatics
Subjects:Computer Science > Human Computer Interaction
ID Code:1148
Deposited By:Kavanaugh, Dr. Andrea
Deposited On:31 January 2013
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