Finding The Signal in the Noise Could Social Media Be Utilized for Early Hospital Notification of Multiple Casualty Events

The authors analyzed 3.8 million tweets from five disasters (the Boston Marathon bombing, a plane crash in San Francisco, the earthquake that struck the Napa area, the Sandy Hook mass shooting, and the Marysville mass shooting) from their onset until one week after the event. They found that tweets about the incidents began less than two minutes after the event, and that using a 200 tweet per minute threshold to notify local hospitals of a possible large-scale disaster would have alerted hospitals before the first patient’s arrival. The authors conclude that monitoring social media could be a tool for disaster response and more research should be done to determine whether the threshold concept is useful in practice.
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