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Twitter in Disaster Mode: Opportunistic Communication and Distribution of Sensor Data in Emergencies
ETH Zürich.
ETH Zürich.
ETH Zürich.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Information Technology, Computer Systems. (Communication Research)
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2011 (English)In: ExtremeCom2011, ACM Press, 2011Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Recent events (earthquakes, floods, etc.) have shown that users heavily rely on online social networks (OSN) to communicate and organize during disasters and in their aftermath. In this paper, we discuss what features could be added to OSN apps for smart phones – for the example of Twitter – to make them even more useful for disaster situations. In particular, we consider cases where the fixed communication infrastructure is partially or totally wiped out and propose to equip regular Twitter apps with a disaster mode. The disaster mode relies on opportunistic communication and epidemic spreading of Tweets from phone to phone. Such “disaster-ready” applications would allow to resume (although limited) communication instantaneously and help distressed people to self-organize un- til regular communication networks are functioning again, or, temporary emergency communication infrastructure is installed.

We argue why we believe that Twitter with its simplicity and versatile features (e.g., retweet and hashtag) is a good platform to support a variety of different situations and present Twimight, our disaster ready Twitter application. In addition, we propose Twimight as a platform for disseminating sensor data providing information such as locations of drinkable water sources. Eventually, we propose to rely on interest matching to scale Twitter hashtag-based searches in an opportunistic environment. The combination of these features make our opportunistic Twitter the ideal emergency kit in situations of disasters. We discuss and define the main implementation and research challenges (both technical and non- technical). 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ACM Press, 2011.
Keyword [en]
Twitter, Social Network, Opportunistic Communication
National Category
Communication Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-163696ISBN: 978-1-4503-1079-6/11/09OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-163696DiVA: diva2:464583
Available from: 2011-12-13 Created: 2011-12-13

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Gunningberg, PerRohner, Christian
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