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Engaging stakeholders through social media and emergent organizations: The West Virginia Water Crisis Recovery as a case study

Morgan C. Getchell, PhD, Timothy L. Sellnow, PhD

Abstract


The West Virginia water contamination crisis began on the morning of January 9, 2014, and left approximately 300,000 customers of the West Virginia American Water Company unable to use the water in their homes for any purpose other than flushing their toilets. Given the lack of appropriate response from the established organizations involved, many emergent organizations formed to help fill unmet informational and physical needs of the affected population. Crisis researchers have observed these ephemeral organizations for decades, but the recent proliferation of information communication technologies have made their activities more widespread and observable. In West Virginia, their activities were indispensable to the affected population and helped restore a sense of normalcy. This article analyzes four emergent organizations that formed in response to the West Virginia water contamination and the functions they performed in different phases of this crisis.


Keywords


emergent organizations, crisis communication, emergency response, social media, West Virginia water contamination

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.2019.0429

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