User roles for emergency management in social media: Understanding actors' behavior during the 2018 Majorca Island flash floods

Elsevier, Government Information Quarterly, Volume 37, October 2020
Villodre J., Criado J.I.
Social media assemble multiple users' interactions across singular events. Authorities need to navigate this diversity to effectively communicate and promote collaborative strategies. During emergency situations, discerning “who is there” is even more important for authorities, as this tracing process can save lives reaching the appropriate targets. This article contributes to this problem during emergency situations by proposing a user role taxonomy. We argue that focusing on functional behaviors could bypass the complexity of defining audiences during critical events. We test our framework using data from the 2018 flash floods in Sant Llorenç, Majorca island (Spain). Results show a diverse set of audience roles that emerge during crisis and post-crisis stages. We also identify the inclination of actors to represent certain roles and not others. Our findings contribute to understand crisis development models, and also crisis coordination configurations, such as the four-channel model or the network coordination perspective. Practical implications for public managers vary from improving coordination to influence audience's behavior during crises.