Finding community through information and communication technology in disaster response

Irina Shklovski, Leysia Palen, Jeannette Sutton
2008 Proceedings of the ACM 2008 conference on Computer supported cooperative work - CSCW '08  
Disasters affect not only the welfare of individuals and family groups, but also the well-being of communities, and can serve as a catalyst for innovative uses of information and communication technology (ICT). In this paper, we present evidence of ICT use for re-orientation toward the community and for the production of public goods in the form of information dissemination during disasters. Results from this study of information seeking practices by members of the public during the October
more » ... ing the October 2007 Southern California wildfires suggest that ICT use provides a means for communicating community-relevant information especially when members become geographically dispersed, leveraging and even building community resources in the process. In the presence of pervasive ICT, people are developing new practices for emergency response by using ICT to address problems that arise from information dearth and geographical dispersion. In doing so, they find community by reconnecting with others who share their concern for the locale threatened by the hazard. 1 We define Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to include all digital/computational forms of technologyhardware and software. In that, ICT as a term can refer to overlapping and interrelated technology, including, for example, both mobile phone hardware devices and SMS texting; Web-based social networking sites and the Internet itself. The "C" updates the previously standard "IT" to account for the growing reach beyond the commercial sector, machine rooms, and desktops; and refers to the communicative abilities and ease of information exchange that this growing class of technology supports.
doi:10.1145/1460563.1460584 dblp:conf/cscw/ShklovskiPS08 fatcat:6vpycbx5lzawnkxjtmuj5vwwse