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Dynamics of information distribution on social media platforms during disasters

Description

When preparing for and responding to disasters, humanitarian organizations must run effective and efficient supply chains to deliver the resources needed by the affected population. The management of humanitarian supply chains include coordinating the flows of goods, finances, and information.

When preparing for and responding to disasters, humanitarian organizations must run effective and efficient supply chains to deliver the resources needed by the affected population. The management of humanitarian supply chains include coordinating the flows of goods, finances, and information. This dissertation examines how humanitarian organizations can improve the distribution of information, which is critical for the planning and coordination of the other two flows. Specifically, I study the diffusion of information on social media platforms since such platforms have emerged as useful communication tools for humanitarian organizations during times of crisis.

In the first chapter, I identify several factors that affect how quickly information spreads on social media platforms. I utilized Twitter data from Hurricane Sandy, and the results indicate that the timing of information release and the influence of the content’s author determine information diffusion speed. The second chapter of this dissertation builds directly on the first study by also evaluating the rate at which social media content diffuses. A piece of content does not diffuse in isolation but, rather, coexists with other content on the same social media platform. After analyzing Twitter data from four distinct crises, the results indicate that other content’s diffusion often dampens a specific post’s diffusion speed. This is important for humanitarian organizations to recognize and carries implications for how they can coordinate with other organizations to avoid inhibiting the propagation of each other’s social media content. Finally, a user’s followers on social media platforms represent the user’s direct audience. The larger the user’s follower base, the more easily the same user can extensively broadcast information. Therefore, I study what drives the growth of humanitarian organizations’ follower bases during times of normalcy and emergency using Twitter data from one week before and one week after the 2016 Ecuador earthquake.

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Date Created
2018

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Gender, age and armed violence: complexity of identity among returning formerly displaced youth in Uganda

Description

Armed violence is a contemporary global challenge especially in the developing world. It impacts immigration policies locally and internationally. Uganda experienced a twenty-four year -long civil armed conflict, which the president of Uganda declared ended in 2008. Following government

Armed violence is a contemporary global challenge especially in the developing world. It impacts immigration policies locally and internationally. Uganda experienced a twenty-four year -long civil armed conflict, which the president of Uganda declared ended in 2008. Following government instruction, displaced persons have been returning home since then. Despite this official closure, in the course of resettlement, youth specific needs and concerns have been ignored. Female youth have been the most affected due to the interlocking nature of their undervalued gender, age, and marital and reproductive statuses. Despite the complexity of female youth’s social location, research and frameworks about armed violence have focused on men as the perpetuators, marginalizing the impact armed conflict has on young women. Using the case of northern Uganda, this dissertation draws on feminist and indigenous epistemologies to examine the experiences of formerly displaced female youth. First, I deconstruct the western dominant construction of the stages of human growth and development including childhood, youth and adulthood. In this research, I prioritize local perspectives on human development; emphasizing the ambiguity of the concept youth, highlighting its age and gendered limited applicability to northern Uganda. I also examine the local understanding of armed conflict centering its forms and causes. Further, I explore the challenges female youth face, and the strategies they adopt to cope in situations of distress. I argue that studying formerly displaced female youth from their standpoint is critical since female youth have been marginalized in previous research and programs with gender-neutral perspectives. They thus provide a new perspective to armed violence given their multi dimensional standpoint. Female youth have different needs and concerns, which may not feature in mainstream programming largely informed by traditional male dominated systems and structures. Young women’s experiences thus deserve to be acknowledged if female youth are to benefit from the post-conflict reconstruction phase. To fulfill this objective, I used qualitative methods of data collection and analysis.

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Created

Date Created
2016