Media Mediate Sentiments: Exploratory Analysis of Tweets Posted Before, During, and After the Great East Japan Earthquake

Media Mediate Sentiments: Exploratory Analysis of Tweets Posted Before, During, and After the Great East Japan Earthquake

Naohiro Matsumura (Osaka University, Toyonaka, Japan), Asako Miura (Kwansei Gakuin University, Nishinomiya, Japan), Masashi Komori (Osaka Electro-Communication University, Neyagawa, Japan) and Kai Hiraishi (Keio University, Minatoku, Japan)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJKSR.2016040104
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Abstract

When the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred, Twitter was used as an infrastructure for sharing information carried by other media. In other words, Twitter is considered as a “meta medium.” Earthquake-related tweets included information that was of questionable veracity, contained vicious rumors, and propagated matters of controversy that often gave rise to various discussions and arguments. In this research, the authors analyzed 89,351,242 tweets posted from December 11, 2010 to April 16, 2012. They then extracted 9,816,625 URLs and classified the top 100 domains of these URLs into 19 media categories. The emotional reactions of Twitter users were investigated by counting the terms conveying positive and negative emotions included in the body of tweets along with the media URLs. The authors' findings revealed differences in terms of the frequency with which terms expressing emotions were evoked and differences in the patterns of their surges, across the various media. The authors also considered the usage of various terms appearing in tweets concurrently with the terms expressing emotion.
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Social media usage during disasters has previously been analyzed to understand people's online behavior (Savage, 2011). Sakaki et al. (2010) and Earle et al. (2010) showed that Twitter could be used for earthquake detection because people play the role of a social sensor when an earthquake occurs. Mendoza et al. (2010) analyzed the propagation of false rumors and confirmed news from tweets regarding the 2010 Chile earthquake. Oh et al. (2010) found that tweets from credible sources about the 2010 Haiti earthquake contributed to suppressing anxiety among the Twitter community. Qu et al. (2011) analyzed information relating to the 2010 Yushu earthquake available at Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging service, and revealed various aspects of information dynamics, for example, how messages were re-posted and spread. Miyabe et al. (2012) analyzed tweets related to the Great East Japan Earthquake and found that people outside the disaster area tended to retweet information coming from within the disaster area. Tanaka et al. (2014) concluded that posting URLs in earthquake-related tweets increased rumor-spreading behavior. Cohn et al. (2004) analyzed participants' diary entries written prior to and after the September 11 attacks, and found that, for a short period after the attack, participants expressed more negative emotions, but that their moods returned to their baselines two weeks after the attack.

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