As public expectations continue to grow in terms of how governments should monitor social media during disasters, it is critical to provide empirical support for the extent to which governments should continue to invest in social media as essential disaster communication tools. This 3 × 4 × 2 between-subjects experiment (N = 871) tested which, if any, disaster information forms and sources were more likely to generate desired public outcomes such as intentions to seek and share information through an array of communication channels. The study also tested related influences of person-made versus natural disaster type. Finally, this study examined whether a known real-world disaster potentially affected participants' responses to hypothetical disaster information. Key findings include: (1) there were significant main effects of disaster information form and source, but no single form and source combination consistently predicted behavioral intentions; (2) there were no main effects of disaster type on all tested outcomes; and (3) there were no differences in how disaster information form and source affected participants' intentions to seek information before and after the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings.
Liu, Brooke Fisher, and Julia Daisy Fraustino, Yan Jin. 2015. "How Disaster Information Form, Source, Type, and Prior Disaster Exposure Affect Public Outcomes: Jumping on the Social Media Bandwagon?" Journal of Applied Communication Research 43 (January): 44-65. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00909882.2014.982685