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The use of social media during disasters: The development of the literature, its current topography, and future challenges

Fatih Demiroz, PhD


Scholarly efforts to understand the use of social media during disasters have grown over the past decade, thanks to widely available data and powerful analytical tools. These efforts occurred in several academic fields, including disaster management, public administration, computer science, communications, and medicine. While such efforts have created a rich tapestry of perspectives, the ever-growing body of literature has become difficult to navigate. This article tackles this issue by painting a broad picture of the past, present, and future of the literature by analyzing metadata of 1,414 articles published on this subject. The results identify five important points. First, the literature on the use of social media during disasters has grown very rapidly in the past decade, but it is approaching a maturation point. Second, the literature is interdisciplinary in nature, and with the exception of medical journals, journals from different disciplines frequently cite each other. Third, the interdisciplinary nature of the literature comes from its intellectual roots. Fourth, the topography of the literature consists of a small number of core journals that publish a significant number of articles and a large number of journals in the periphery that occasionally publish relevant articles. Finally, the article discusses the challenges facing the future of the literature and makes suggestions.


social media, disasters, bibliometrics

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