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JIPS 2009 5.3 Article 1

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WEB 2.0 EMERGENCY APPLICATIONS: HOW USEFUL
CAN TWITTER BE FOR EMERGENCY RESPONSE?

Alexander Mills, The State University of New York, USA
admills@buffalo.edu
Rui Chen, Ball State University, USA
rchen3@bsu.edu
JinKyu Lee, Oklahoma State University, USA
Jinkyu_lee@hotmail.com
H. Raghav Rao, The State University of New York, USA
mgmtrao@buffalo.edu

ABSTRACT

Twitter is a free, platform-independent, Web 2.0 communication application that
allows users to send short (up to 140 characters) electronic messages to other
individual users and user groups. Twitter users can send messages to one another via
most internet-enabled devices capable of text messaging. This new and unique service
offers great potential for rapid and integrated response to disasters. We explore the
upsides and the downsides of this free service as a modern communications tool in the
hands of disaster response professionals, government agencies, crisis management
organizations (CMOs), organizations, and victims of disasters.