Rongjuan Chen Howe School, Stevens Institute of Technology
Perspective Matters: Sharing of Crisis Information in Social Media

In this talk, I will present my recent work, in which I have examined how people decide whether or not to share crisis information in social media. In particular, the work focused on how perspective taking, or thinking about self versus other, might influence people's sharing behavior. Another focus of this work was how people's feelings in response to crisis information might relate to their sharing decision. Using tweets related to Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, I found that imagining self in a disaster center, Fukushima, Japan, increased the likelihood of sharing crisis information relative to imagining another person, John, in the disaster center. People's intention to share crisis information by default, without being asked to take any perspective, paralleled the intention to share under other perspective. Moreover, the results revealed that people were most likely to share information that was associated with negative feelings such as worry and fear; they were least likely to share information perceived as confusing or uninteresting. I will discuss theoretical and practical implications of this work.