Social networks and how they’re used are central to the question of resilience, but they are often measured using surveys which can be both costly and time consuming, therefore greatly limiting the ability to track them over time or to observe the activation during disruptive events. This project seeks to develop a set of methods that leverage social media data — specifically Twitter activity —to quantify the social networks and processes of geographically-based communities.
The project will provide a novel vantage point on social resilience that is cheaper and potentially capable of observing the social dynamics of communities in real time. The objective is to enable original research and policies that seek to understand and support communities under both long-term and acute duress. The interdisciplinary project team, which features representatives from the Colleges of Social Sciences and Humanities, Engineering, and Computer and Information Science, combines ways of thinking about the social organization of urban neighborhoods, networks and resilience, the proper use and interpretation of modern digital data, and computer-scientific gathering and processing of such information.