“With Your Help... We Begin to Heal”: Social Media Expressions of Gratitude in the Aftermath of Disaster

  • Kimberly GlasgowEmail author
  • Jessika Vitak
  • Yla Tausczik
  • Clay Fink
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9708)


In the aftermath of disasters, communities struggle to recover from the physical and emotional tolls of the event, often without needed social support. Social media may serve to bridge the distance between the affected community and those outside who are willing to offer support. This exploratory study uses Twitter as a lens for examining gratitude for support provisions in the aftermath of disasters. Gratitude for support is examined in the context of two significant U.S. disasters, a tornado that devastated Alabama and the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Observed expressions of gratitude for social support from each community differed from what would be expected based on established factors relating to social support in the aftermath of the disaster. These findings offer ways for social media – as a window into real-time community behaviors relating to response and healing after disaster – to contribute to the provision of mental health resources and monitoring community resilience and recovery.


Gratitude Social support Social media Disaster Machine learning Twitter 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberly Glasgow
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jessika Vitak
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yla Tausczik
    • 1
    • 2
  • Clay Fink
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Applied Physics LaboratoryJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.College of Information StudiesUniversity of Maryland College ParkCollege ParkUSA

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