Information Cascades in Social Media in Response to a Crisis: A Preliminary Model and a Case Study

Hui, Cindy; Tyshchuk, Yulia; Wallace, William A.; Magdon-Ismail, Malik; Goldberg, Mark
WWW '12 Companion

The focus of this paper is on demonstrating how a model of the diffusion of actionable information can be used to study information cascades on Twitter that are in response to an actual crisis event, and its concomitant alerts and warning messages from emergency managers. We will: identify the types of information requested or shared during a crisis situation; show how messages spread among the users on Twitter including what kinds of information cascades or patterns are observed; and note what these patterns tell us about information flow and the users. We conclude by noting that emergency managers can use this information to either facilitate the spreading of accurate information or impede the flow of inaccurate or improper messages.