Social Media Provides Critical Insights During Hurricane Florence
Leading opinion mining company BrandsEye, in partnership with strategic and emergency management consulting firm Nusura, Inc., is working with Dr. Michele Wood and Dr. Hamilton Bean to monitor social media conversations related to Hurricane Florence and share real-time, accurate insights about the situation as it develops. Michele Wood, PhD, is a professor and chair of the Department of Public Health at California State University, Fullerton and Hamilton Bean, PhD, MBA, APR, is an associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Denver.
Last year, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and others combined to produce the worst Atlantic hurricane season on record. Over the course of the season, social media emerged as a reliable source of information and a resource for individuals affected by the storms, connecting them with government officials, first responders, and private citizens who worked together to help their neighbors.
“Social media is a game changer for emergency managers, redefining how we understand, prepare for, respond to, and recover from catastrophic disasters,” said Mark Amann, CEO of Nusura. “These digital conversations provide rich insights in real time that help us better understand what’s happening and inform our decisions about how to respond, and ultimately save more lives.”
Today, Hurricane Florence is already beginning to drop another trillion gallons of rain over North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and several other states. With BrandsEye, Nusura and their research partners are able to continuously seek, gather, and analyze mentions based on predefined criteria across online and social media. Sophisticated machine learning algorithms evaluate each mention to ensure relevance and the discovery of useful metadata. BrandsEye’s unique human “Crowd” can accurately verify the sentiment contained in the mentions and the topics driving that sentiment to deliver insights for response.
Colin Habberton, Director of Global Partnerships at BrandsEye, notes, “The ability to identify, structure, and visualize accurate social data in real time during emergency situations is essential to enhance responsiveness to critical needs.”
Follow us over the coming days on Twitter at @BrandsEye and @Nusura for real-time insights about Hurricane Florence, brought to you by the social media crowd.
About Michele Wood, PhD, California State University, Fullerton
Michele M. Wood, PhD, M.S., holds a doctorate in Community Health Sciences from the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, with a minor degree in Sociology, and a master’s degree in Community Psychology. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in research methods, statistics, and program design and evaluation. Her research interests include disaster preparedness, risk communication, HIV/AIDS among high-risk populations, and program evaluation. Dr. Wood recently served as co-principal investigator on a research project funded by the Department of Homeland Security, “Comprehensive Testing of Imminent Threat Public Messages for Mobile Device,s” through the START Center (Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism) at the University of Maryland; she was the quantitative lead for the study. Also in connection with the START Center, Dr. Wood played a lead role in the design and implementation of the National Survey of Disaster Experiences and Preparedness and the California Earthquake Study of Household Preparedness. As Chair of the Earthquake Country Alliance Committee for Research and Evaluation, Dr. Wood helped design and implement the ongoing evaluation for the “Great California Shakeout” earthquake drill. Dr. Wood is currently serving as a Subject Matter Expert for the USGS ShakeAlert Joint Committee for Communication, Education, and Outreach, and is working with the California Office of Emergency Services to develop and test messages for an earthquake early warning system (ShakeAlert) currently being developed for the US West coast.
About Hamilton Bean, PhD, MBA, APR, University of Colorado, Denver
Hamilton Bean, Ph.D., MBA, APR, is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Denver. He currently serves as director of the University of Colorado Denver’s International Studies Program. He specializes in the study of communication and security. Since 2005, he has been affiliated with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) – a US Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence. His research has been published in numerous international academic journals and edited volumes, and has won multiple awards for scholarship from the National Communication Association. His Wireless Emergency Alerts-related research collaborations appear in the Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Environment & Behavior, Public Relations Review, and Review of Communication.
BrandsEye was founded by a group of data and computer scientists in 2007 to discover new and better ways of connecting the voice of the public to decision-makers. Today it combines AI and crowd-sourced human intelligence to accurately mine social media for public opinion. These opinions are used to improve customer experience, mitigate risk and reduce churn. In 2016, BrandsEye made international headlines when it found that the social media conversations they had mined pointed toward a Brexit victory for the Leave campaign and a Donald Trump victory in the US presidential elections.
At Nusura, we’re building a better, safer, more resilient future with our customers. Founded in 2008, Nusura is led by professionals who have served in leadership positions in the military, local, state, and federal agencies, and the private sector during some of the most challenging incidents in recent history. Our team has supported hundreds of emergency responses including the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, Irma, and Maria. We’ve written hundreds of emergency and crisis response plans, so we know the difference between what sounds good on paper and what actually works in a crisis.