Managing Uncertainty: Using Social Media for Risk Assessment during a Public Health Crisis


論文アブストラクト:Recently, diseases like H1N1 influenza, Ebola, and Zika virus have created severe crises, requiring public resources and personal behavior adaptation. Crisis Informatics literature examines interconnections of people, organizations, and IT during crisis events. However, how people use technology to cope with disease crises (outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics) remains understudied. We investigate how individuals used social media in response to the outbreak of Zika, focusing on travel-related decisions. We found that extreme uncertainty and ambiguity characterized the Zika virus crisis. To cope, people turned to social media for information gathering and social learning geared towards personal risk assessment and modifying decisions when dealing with partial and conflicting information about Zika. In particular, individuals sought local information and used socially informed logical reasoning to deduce the risk at a specific locale. We conclude with implications for designing information systems to support individual risk assessment and decision-making when faced with uncertainty and ambiguity during public health crises.