Social media is gaining more and more importance in crisis management: It continues to evolve, and so does their use in emergency and crisis events. Related research is sometimes called “crisis informatics”.

To address current research Christian Reuter (Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany), Amanda Lee Hughes (Utah State University, USA), Starr Roxanne Hiltz (New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA), Muhammad Imran (Qatar Computing Research Institute, Qatar) and  Linda Plotnick (Lafayette College, USA) edited a special issue in the International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction, one of the major journals in the field.

This special issue was initiated based on the track “Social Media Studies” at previous ISCRAM (Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management) conferences. It is usually one of the tracks with the most submissions; however, we (successfully) aimed to also invite scholars from other venues to contribute.

The aim of this special issue is to showcase current research on how the use of social media can help in crisis management and response. We solicited papers that provide rich description and/or evaluation of the design and/or actual use of social media for collaboration and/or widespread participation in any phase of crisis management, from initial planning and preparedness, through detection, response, and recovery phases.

We received 15 submissions to the special issue. After two rounds of rigorous review, 7 articles (1 editorial and 6 research papers) were accepted for publication.

  1. Editorial of the Special Issue on Social Media in Crisis Management
  2. “Social Media in Crisis Management: An Evaluation and Analysis of Crisis Informatics Research” by Christian Reuter (Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany), Amanda Lee Hughes (Utah State University, USA) and Marc-André Kaufhold (Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany)
  3. The Crowd is the Territory: Assessing Quality in Peer-Produced Spatial Data During Disasters” by Jennings Anderson, Robert Soden, Brian Keegan, Leysia Palen, and Kenneth M. Anderson (University of Colorado Boulder, USA)
  4. Processing Social Media Images by Combining Human and Machine Computing During Crises” by Firoj Alam, Ferda Ofli and Muhammad Imran (Qatar Computing Research Institute)
  5. Social Positions and Collective Sense-making in Crisis Communication” by Stefan Stieglitz, and Milad Mirbabaie, Maximilian Milde (University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany)
  6. Understanding Chinese WeChat Users’ Behavior of Sharing Social Crisis Information” by Yang Chen (Harbin Institute of Technology, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China)
  7. Software Innovations to Support the Use of Social Media by Emergency Managers” by Linda Plotnick (Layfayette College, USA) and Starr Roxanne Hiltz (New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA)

In summary, the special issue includes a comprehensive review (first article), technical findings for quality assessment (second article) and image processing (third article). The issue then present results from case studies to elaborate theories around sense making (fourth article) and sharing behavior (fifth article). Lastly, the issue provides results from quantitative surveys on perceived barriers for social media use by emergency managers (sixth article).

Special Issue on “Social Media in Crisis Management” now published in the “International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction”