Citizens’ use of microblogging and government communication during emergencies: A case study on water contamination in Shanghai

Qianli Yuan, Mila Gascó


This study explored how citizens and governments used microblogging for communication during the water contamination incident in Shanghai, China. Based on analysis of both citizen and government microblogging posts, this study showed citizens can use microblogging to engage in the emergency response in four different ways, while governments mainly applied a push strategy for communication. Although public organizations showed a weak sign of using a pull strategy, the overall misalignment in the use of microblogging limited its benefits as an interactive platform where additional network collaboration can be developed. This study contributes to understanding how citizens actually use microblogging during an emergency and how governments adapt to the observed users’ behavior over time. Further research is needed to explore how governments can use pull or networked strategy to maximize the benefits of microblogging.

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