HEROIC PI Jeannette Sutton spoke at the Industrial and Systems Engineering Seminar at Texas A&M University on Monday, April 22nd, 2013. The abstract of her talk is below.
The speed with which our society is enjoying technological change, including the growth of networked communications, lead many to appreciate the possibility for innovative uses of online communication tools. Social media represent one set of channels and tools for use in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery by both members of the public and responders alike. As a source of “big data,” it also brings challenges and opportunities for researchers and engineers. This presentation will provide a historical narrative of some key social media events along the disaster timeline, and describe strategies for collecting, approaching, and analyzing Twitter data in order to create predictive models of social behaviors during the warning phase of a disaster.
Emma Spiro, Ryan Acton and Carter Butts published an article, “Extended structure of mediation: Re-examining brokerage in dynamics networks,” in the upcoming issue of Social Networks. Their article revisits the concept of brokerage in social networks, elaborating on the concept of brokerage as a process. Spiro et al. develop a framework for measuring brokerage opportunities in dynamic relational data. Using data on emergent inter-organizational collaborations, they employ the dynamic brokerage framework to examine the relationship between organizational attributes and coordination in the evolving network. Comparing the findings of the process-based definition with traditional, static approaches, Spiro et al. identify important dimensions of organizational action that would be missed by the latter approach.
Their article can be found online here.
Zack W. Almquist, Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at the University of California, Irvine, and his advisor Carter T. Butts (Professor, Departments of Sociology and Statistics), have recently been awarded a NSF Dissertation Improvement grant from the Methodology, Measurement and Statistics Program in the Division of Social and Economic Sciences. This work will support Almquist’s ongoing research on dynamic network models with joint edge/vertex evolution. Specifically, this project will improve and extend the current state of the art in missing and sampled data methods for dynamic network models. These methods will allow improved inference and prediction for dynamic social network processes (e.g., online social networks, disaster response networks, and sexual contact networks), problems of immediate importance to sociologists, statisticians, computer scientists, demographers, epidemiologists, and public policy researchers. In addition to the development of new methodology, this research will involve validation on real-world case studies, such as the 2005 Hurricane Katrina response, of immediate importance to practitioners and the general public. Almquist is a member of the Networks, Computation, and Social Dynamics Lab (www.ncasd.org) at UCI, and is a graduate fellow of the UCI Center for Networks and Relational Analysis (www.relationalanalysis.org). His research focuses on the development of new techniques for the modeling of social networks, large-scale network analysis, and spatial demography.
NCASD Lab PI Carter Butts was an invited speaker at the Workshop on Algorithmic and Statistical Approaches for Large Social Network data which took place on December 7, 2012 in Lake Tahoe, Nevada alongside NIPS 2012. Butts talked about the Challenges and Directions in Modeling Large-scale Networks. The workshop was organized by NCASD collaborators under the MURI project Scalable Methods for the Analysis of Network-based Data.
Emma Spiro, along with coauthors Christopher DuBois and Carter Butts, won the Best Student Paper Award at the recent Workshop on Social Network and Social Media Analysis: Methods, Models and Applications at the 26th Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2012) held on December 8, 2012 in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The paper Waiting for a Retweet: Modeling Waiting Times in Information Propagation looks at variability in the waiting times between Twitter messages and retweets based on social, content, and contextual factors.
NCASD Lab PI Carter Butts was an invited speaker at the US/Japan Frontiers of Science Conference, jointly supported by the Kavli Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences. The Frontiers of Science Conference brings together young scientists from across the disciplines who are working on topics at the forefront of scientific progress. Butts’s talk on “The Aftermath of Disasters” reviewed the current state of knowledge regarding the social processes that occur during and immediately following emergencies and disasters, including research on emergent networks and informal communication conducted by the HEROIC Project. HEROIC and the NCASD Lab team are pleased to have had the opportunity to share our findings with the broader scientific community.
In recent work, the HEROIC team performed an exploratory analysis of online conversation surrounding Superstorm Sandy. The team looked at Twitter posts by the general public as well as official government emergency management organizations and other targeted accounts of interest.
A few of the lessons learned from this research include:
- Twitter functions as a tool for risk communication, with heightened communication during the most critical points of a crisis event.
- Consistent with previous research, few organizations have directed communications with followers, but instead use Twitter as a sort of redundant, broadcast mechanism.
- There is evidence that patterns for content posting are emerging, as organizations include hashtags and links as part of their routine communication activities in disaster.
See the online research highlight for more information:
Project member Spiro will present preliminary work exploring differences in retweet waiting times between hazard and non-hazard tweets at the Workshop on Social Network and Social Media Analysis: Methods, Models and Applications held in conjunction with Neural Information Processing Systems conference (NIPS 2012) in Lake Tahoe, Nevada next week.
HEROIC Pi Jeannette Sutton presented “Online Informal Communications during the Waldo Canyon Fire: Colorado Springs, CO 2012″ at the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program Public Affairs Meeting, held on October 24, 2012 at the Colorado State Homeland Security and Emergency Management Office. This presentation focused on official communications directed to the public via Twitter during the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire, and the public response of retweeting.