Post-crisis information dissemination and social media usage characteristics: An analysis of the west black sea flood disaster networkBayram Oğuz Aydın, Özlem Duğan
The main purpose of this research is to find who the most influential actors are regarding post-crisis information flow in the example of the Twitter platform and to reveal the relationship between users’ social media traits and their control of the flow of information. In this context, the article examines the number of followers and accounts followed based on users’ social media traits and tests the hypotheses regarding the relationships between in-degree and out-degree centrality measures, as well as betweenness centrality. In order to realize the study’s purpose, study data were collected from the Twitter platform during the post-flood and flooding crisis periods that had resulted from the heavy rains that started on August 11, 2021 in the Western Black Sea Region. The article has applied social network analysis and appropriate statistical analyses to the obtained data, with the findings showing that users with many followers received more links or information about the flood disaster, which caused those users to be more effective in the network. However, users with many followers on the Twitter platform were revealed to receive a low number of connections and little information about the flood, which negatively reflected on the betweenness centrality criterion that shows their position in the network. As a result, the study has concluded that the social media characteristics of influential users is associated with the dissemination of information through social media during times of crisis and that their characteristics within the network should be considered.
Kriz sonrası bilgi yayılımı ve sosyal medya kullanım özellikleri: Batı karadeniz sel felaketi ağına dair bir analizBayram Oğuz Aydın, Özlem Duğan
Bu araştırmanın amacı Twitter platformu örneğinde kriz sonrası dönemde bilgi akışı üzerinde en etkili aktörleri bulmak ve kullanıcıların sosyal medya özellikleri ile bilgi akışını kontrol etme arasındaki ilişkiyi ortaya koymaktır. Çalışmanın amacını gerçekleştirmek için Batı Karadeniz Bölgesinde 11 Ağustos 2021 tarihinde başlayan aşırı yağışlar sonucunda yaşanan sel ve su baskınları krizi sonrası dönemde Twitter platformundan çalışmanın verileri toplanmıştır. Verilere sosyal ağ analizi ve uygun istatistiksel analizler uygulanarak kullanıcıların sosyal medya özelliklerinden takipçi ve takip edilen hesap miktarı ile bilgi akışı özelliklerinden derece merkeziliği ve arasındalık merkeziliği arasındaki ilişkilere yönelik hipotezler test edilmiştir. Bulgular takipçi miktarı fazla olan kullanıcıların sel felaketi ile ilgili daha fazla bağlantı ya da bilgi aldığını, bu durumun da kullanıcının ağda daha etkili olmasına neden olduğunu göstermiştir. Twitter platformunda takip miktarı yüksek kullanıcıların sel felaketi ile ilgili düşük miktarda bağlantı ya da bilgi aldığını bu durumunda ağdaki konumunu gösteren arasındalık merkeziliği ölçütüne olumsuz olarak yansıdığını ortaya koymuştur. Çalışmada krizde sosyal medya üzerinden bilginin yayılımı esnasında ilişkilendirilecek etkili kullanıcıların (influencer) sosyal medya özellikleri ve ağdaki özelliklerinin dikkate alınması gerektiği sonucuna varılmıştır.
Sharing sufficient and accurate information about a crisis with the public during times of crisis plays an important role in crisis communication, and the transfer of information through the right channels and sources forms the basis of a reliable relationship. Influencers are expressed as opinion leaders and play an important role in the formation of public opinion on any subject or institution. Influencers were known in the past as people who convey the information they receive from the traditional media to the public and are now expressed as famous influential people who actively use social media and have many followers. When considering how digital society follows every development through digital media, the content influencers share on social media regarding crisis communications influences the public. Social media is known to change the source, effect, and speed of crises, and the rapid spread of crisis information also affects the masses quickly. Therefore, time pressure has increased with social media, and rapid crisis response has become an important issue. The purpose of this research is to find who the most influential actors on the information flow are during the post-crisis period regarding Twitter as an example platform and to reveal the relationship between users’ social media traits and control of the flow of information. In this context, the study looks at the number of followers and number of accounts followed based on users’ social media features to test the hypotheses regarding the relationships between in-degree and out-degree centrality measures, as well as for betweenness centrality. In order to achieve the study’s aim, the study data were collected from the Twitter platform during the post-flood period and flooding crisis that had resulted from the heavy rains that started on August 11, 2021 in the Western Black Sea Region, with the study applying social network analysis and appropriate statistical analyses to the data. Social networking platforms such as Twitter allow their members to become friends, to follow friends, or become fans of other members. The connections created on these platforms can be aggregated into a social map or network graph that defines who is connected to whom or who interacts with whom. Social network analysis helps to understand the interactions between platform users and their ties through network parameters on these platforms or through metrics that represent the network created by these ties. These metrics can be used to measure interactions, rank nodes, or ties and to identify influential actors in a network. As a result of the analysis applied to the obtained data, the findings show that users with many followers had received more links and information about the flood disaster, which caused these users to be more effective in the network. However, the study also revealed users with many followers on the Twitter platform to have received few connections and little information about the flood, which then negatively reflected onto the betweenness centrality criterion that shows their position in the network. Making a categorical classification of the most influential actors during the Western Black Sea floods crisis showed individual accounts, state actors, and media actors to be present. When making an evaluation in this context, one should consider the communication strategy that is planned for spreading information on social networks in times of crisis and have influential users get involved with this information; the number of followers and follow-ups these accounts receive should also be considered, as well as their internal and external interactions. In this way, information regarding the public opinions formed on social networks can first be disseminated to different groups through effective users. Moreover, understanding influencers’ traits can be said to help improve the visibility of corporate accounts and allow them to better connect with target audiences for crisis management.