Not just ordinary social media(ting)

Sales, N. D. (2017). Not just your ordinary social media(ting): A descriptive study on the functional role of Twitter during typhoon Lawin, Unpublished Undergraduate Dissertation, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication

Abstract

When typhoon Lawin entered the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) on October 2016, social media did not only help in disseminating information about the status of the disaster’s victims—their whereabouts, condition, needs—but also mediated users’ need for emotional support and safety.

To describe in this study how Twitter was used at the impact phase of typhoon Lawin, I used semiotics and qualitative content analysis to collect and code tweets after the framework outlined by Alexander (2014) and Houston, et al. (2015). Twitter components such as tweet text, retweet, and hashtag contributed in the meaning-making process of users in extending their sympathy, affection, and care to typhoon’s victims. Furthermore, collected data showed that Twitter users’ need for comfort and companionship is more apparent than their need for information regarding the typhoon and its physical impact to people and communities. These needs were mediated by Twitter online.

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