Social Media in Disaster Response

Social Media in Disaster Response:
How Experience Architects Can Build for Participation

Liza Potts

Cover image Order the book from Routledge or at Amazon.

Social Media in Disaster Response defines social web ecosystems, explains methods for researching the participatory use of these systems, and discusses the need for an interdisciplinary team led by experience architects to build them. Experience architects look across ecosystems, building for experiences that move through spaces, systems, and networks.

The book demonstrates how we can trace the ways everyday people deploy social web technologies such as Facebook and Twitter to share and exchange content. In the case studies in this book, Potts closely examines disaster situations such as Hurricane Katrina and the London bombings. However, she also explains how we can generalize these experiences to everyday experiences in digital space.

Across the six chapters, Potts explains why as humanists and technologists—researchers and practitioners who understand culture, use, and context—we are especially well placed to coordinate and guide the activities of design and development teams. She discusses in detail the ways we can bring about better architectures for everyday social web situations. She resituates this work as experience architecture, pointing to the need for understanding the experiences of participants who leverage these technologies. 

Intended users of Social Media in Disaster Response include:

  • Researchers and teachers in technical and professional communication
  • Researchers and teachers in digital humanities
  • Industry practitioners in web design, software design, and social media
  • Researchers and teachers in communication, computer science, and design

Specific university courses in which Social Media in Disaster Response might be used include:

  • New media
  • Web design and user-centered design
  • Research methods in technical and professional communication
  • Information design and architecture
  • Theory of technical communication
  • Writing for digital spaces
  • Content management systems


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