Using tweets extracted from Twitter during the Australian 2010-2011 floods, social network analysis techniques were used to generate and analyse the online networks that emerged at that time. The aim was to develop an understanding of the online communities for the Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian floods in order to identify active players and their effectiveness in disseminating critical information. A secondary goal was to identify important online resources disseminated by these communities. Important and effective players during the Queensland floods were found to be: local authorities (mainly the Queensland Police Services), political personalities (Queensland Premier, Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, Member of Parliament), social media volunteers, traditional media reporters, and people from not-for-profit, humanitarian, and community associations. A range of important resources were identified during the Queensland flood; however, they appeared to be of a more general information nature rather than vital information and updates on the disaster. Unlike Queensland, there was no evidence of Twitter activity from the part of local authorities and the government in the New South Wales and Victorian floods. Furthermore, the level of Twitter activity during the NSW floods was almost nil. Most of the active players during the NSW and Victorian floods were volunteers who were active during the Queensland floods. Given the positive results obtained by the active involvement of the local authorities and government officials in Queensland, and the increasing adoption of Twitter in other parts of the world for emergency situations, it seems reasonable to push for greater adoption of Twitter from local and federal authorities Australia-wide during periods of mass emergencies.


social network analysis, text mining, social media, Twitter, mass emergencies


ISBN: [978-1-86435-644-1]; Full paper