New study analyzing Twitter use during riots

Research on the use of social media in crisis situations seldom focuses on how people affected by or interested in the crisis use social media during the events. A new study co-authored Dr Saskia Bayerl looks at the Twitter use of citizens during the 2011 UK riots.


The study provides insights into citizens’ concerns and communication patterns during crises, adding to our knowledge on the dynamics of citizens’ use of social media in such times. Practical lessons on strategic communication on social media are provided. This study also shares new insights into the planning and implementation of effective and adaptive crisis communication. It calls for adaptivity, flexibility and ambiguity in organizational responses to address the observed plurivocality of crisis audiences.


The study consisted of 5,984 citizen tweets, and looked at both the content and sentiment of the tweets during the 2011 UK riots. The study is published in Government Information Quarterly under the title: What do Citizens Communicate about during Crises? Analyzing Twitter Use during the 2011 UK Riots.


Article can be accessed here.