A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Social Media Use During Disasters: How Information Form and Source Influence Intended Behavioral Responses


This study provides insights that can inform disaster communication management, policymaking, and theory building through a nationally representative field experiment (N = 2,015 U.S. adults) grounded in media richness theory, information and communication technologies (ICTs) succession theory, and the social-mediated crisis communication (SMCC) model. Key findings include the following: (1) Significant main effects of disaster information source were detected on how likely participants were to seek further disaster information from TV, local government websites, and federal government websites; (2) regardless of information form and source, participants reported strongest intentions to immediately communicate about the disaster predominately via offline interpersonal forms rather than through online organizational and personal forms; and (3) regardless of information source, participants reported strong intentions to evacuate if instructed to do so by the government. These findings call for developing crisis communication theory that is more focused on how publics communicate with each other rather than with organizations about disasters and predict a wider variety of crisis communication outcomes.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Liu, Brooke Fisher, Julia Daisy Fraustino and Yan Jin. 2016. "Social Media Use During Disasters: How Information Form and Source Influence Intended Behavior Responses". Communication Research, 626-646.