Social Media in Disaster Response: How Experience Architects Can Build for Participation

Liza Potts

 Order the book from Routledge or at Amazon.

Social Media in Disaster Response defines social web ecosystems, explains methods for researching the participatory use of these systems, and discusses the need for an interdisciplinary team led by experience architects to build them. Experience architects look across ecosystems, building for experiences that move through spaces, systems, and networks.

The book demonstrates how we can trace the ways everyday people deploy social web technologies such as Facebook and Twitter to share and exchange content. In the case studies in this book, Potts closely examines disaster situations such as Hurricane Katrina and the London bombings. However, she also explains how we can generalize these experiences to everyday experiences in digital space.

Across the six chapters, Potts explains why as humanists and technologists—researchers and practitioners who understand culture, use, and context—we are especially well placed to coordinate and guide the activities of design and development teams. She discusses in detail the ways we can bring about better architectures for everyday social web situations. She resituates this work as experience architecture, pointing to the need for understanding the experiences of participants who leverage these technologies.

Intended users of Social Media in Disaster Response include:

Researchers and teachers in technical and professional communication
Researchers and teachers in digital humanities
Industry practitioners in web design, software design, and social media
Researchers and teachers in communication, computer science, and design

Specific university courses in which Social Media in Disaster Response might be used include:

New media
Web design and user-centered design
Research methods in technical and professional communication
Information design and architecture
Theory of technical communication
Writing for digital spaces
Content management systems

Liza Potts is an assistant professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University. She is a senior researcher at Writing in Digital Environments Research Center, the director of user experience at MATRIX, and a collaborator at Creativity Exploratory—a practice-based addition to the College of Arts and Letters curriculum. Her research interests include technologically mediated communication, experience architecture, and participatory culture. Potts is the chair of the Association for Computer Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Design of Communication (ACM: SIGDOC) and the coeditor of Communication Design Quarterly Review. She has worked for Microsoft, consultancies, and start-ups as a director, user-experience architect, and program manager.