Crisis in a networked world: Features of computer-mediated communication in the April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech event

Leysia Palen, Sarah Vieweg, Sophia B. Liu, Amanda Lee Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

234 Citations (Scopus)


Crises and disasters have micro and macro social arrangements that differ from routine situations, as the field of disaster studies has described over its 100-year history. With increasingly pervasive information and communications technology and a changing political arena where terrorism is perceived as a major threat, the attention to crisis is high. Some of these new features of social life have created changes in disaster response that we are only beginning to understand. The University of Colorado is establishing an area of sociologically informed research and information and communications technology development in crisis informatics. This article reports on research that examines features of computer-mediated communication and information sharing activity during and after the April 16, 2007, crisis at Virginia Tech by members of the public. The authors consider consequences that these technology-supported social interactions have on emergency response and implications for methods in e-Social Science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-480
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes



  • Computer-mediated communication (CMC)
  • Computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW)
  • Crisis informatics
  • Emergency response
  • Information and communication technology
  • Peer communication
  • Social media
  • Web 2.0
  • Widescale interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law

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