|"The rate of adoption for twitter use has been so fast. But right now there is so much noise and only parts of it are useful. So emergency managers are cautious."|
Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) Professor Kate Starbird was recently interviewed on the social media response to Superstorm Sandy and other large disasters.
More than 20 million tweets were recorded as having been sent in relation to Sandy, a record number (although Starbird thinks that estimate is actually a low estimate). Starbird says the growth in social media usage, especially Twitter, has created "a perfect storm for generating a large volume of information," but people are still trying to figure out what kind of information can be useful when it comes to disaster response and emergency management.
In their current research, Starbird and her students are conducting contextual interviews with emergency managers—interviewing emergency managers and watching them work in social media spaces and then trying to develop tools to help those managers process, visualize, and make sense of the information they receive so they can make better decisions to address the disasters.
Listen to the entire interview on GovLoop, a website that provides resources and networking for government employees.