Of Bubbles and Sentiments: Virtual Communities in the Aftermath of Dorian


The study investigated the structural qualities of the dominant virtual Twitter communities enduring in the aftermath of a natural disaster and how they influence the flow of information among social actors in the network. By employing a combination of textual and social network analyses on tweets associated with Hurricane Dorian, the study reinforces the findings of previous studies that information propagation is determined by nature of interactional communities built in the different stages of an emergency event and that sentiments and choice of user message keywords follow along the lines of geographical proximity to the affected zines. Engagements among social actors led to formation of virtual communities that were found to be dominated by hierarchical, polarized and insulated structural features which characteristically determine their information propagation patterns. These information community clusters demonstrate highly defined boundaries with sparse overlaps. Also, political and media actors demonstrate the most influences during this phase of the disaster. Implications of these findings for both research and practice as well as the limitations of research findings were discussed

Sep 25, 2020 13:30 ET — 14:00 ET
Oluwole Martins Badmus
Oluwole Martins Badmus
Faculty of Information & Media Studies, Western University