Advertisement

The Dynamics of Place-Based Virtual Communities: Social Media in a Region in Transition

  • Naomi Smith
  • Susan YellEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Social media is a key platform through which communities can organise, connect and communicate. As such we argue that it can provide insight into how regional places and communities are imagined through digital platforms. Social media platforms like Facebook provide a way for researchers to map the virtual geography of real places. Often place-based community activity on social networks sites is a response to transition and change. Social media provides us with a way to assess and measure the community’s response to change and crisis. This chapter will explore the ways in which digital social research methods can enhance understandings of place-based regional identities during and after times of crisis. We examine a case study from the Latrobe Valley in regional Victoria to consider how Facebook in particular provides a window to the complicated affective relationships to place that emerge in times of crisis and strife.

References

  1. Anikeeva, O., Steenkamp, M., & Arbon, P. (2015). The future of social media use during emergencies in Australia: Insights from the 2014 Australian and New Zealand disaster and emergency management conference social media workshop. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 30(1), 22–26.Google Scholar
  2. Australian Emergency Management Institute. (2011). Community recovery (handbook 2) Australian Emergency Management Institute, Part of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department, Australia. Retrieved March 23, 2019, from www.aidr.org.au/media/1488/handbook-2-community-recovery.pdf
  3. Bach, R., Kaufman, D., & Dahns, F. (2015). What works to support community resilience? In R. Bach (Ed.), Strategies for supporting community resilience: Multinational experiences (pp. 309–340). Crismart: The Swedish Defence University, Multinational Resilience Policy Group.Google Scholar
  4. Belblidia, M. (2010). Building community resilience through social networking sites: Using online social networks for emergency management. International Journal of Information Systems for Crisis Response Management, 2(1), 24–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bird, D., Ling, M., & Haynes, K. (2012). Flooding Facebook – The use of social media during the Queensland and Victorian floods. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 27(1), 27–33.Google Scholar
  6. boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), 210–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Civic Web Media. (2019). Retrieved March 23, 2019, from https://www.civicwebmedia.com.au/australias-most-popular-social-media-sites-2019/
  8. Cline, R., Orom, H., Berry-Bobovski, L., Hernandez, T., Black, C., Schwartz, A., et al. (2010). Community-level social support responses in a slow-motion technological disaster: The case of Libby, Montana. American Journal Community Psychology, 46, 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social Capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94(Suppl), S95–S120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dotson, T. (2017). Technically together: Reconsidering community in a networked world. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Duffy, M., & Whyte, S. (2017). The Latrobe Valley: The politics of loss and Hope in a region of transition. Australian Journal of Regional Studies, 23(3), 421–446.Google Scholar
  12. Duffy, M., & Yell, S. (2018). Community empowerment and trust: Social media use during the Hazelwood mine fire. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 33(2), 66–70.Google Scholar
  13. Dufty, N. (2012). Using social media to build community disaster resilience. The Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 27(1), 40–45.Google Scholar
  14. Ellison, N. B., Lampe, C., Steinfield, C., & Vitak, J. (2011). With a little help from my friends: How social network sites affect social capital processes. In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.), A networked self: Identity, community, and culture on social network sites. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Emergency Management Victoria. (2014). National review of warnings and information: Literature review. EMV/IPSOS. Retrieved May 23, 2016, from http://fire-com-live-wp.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/National-Review-of-Warnings-Information-Literature-Review-FINAL-Oct2014.pdf
  16. Gruzd, A., Jacobson, J., Wellman, B., & Mai, P. (2016). Understanding communities in an age of social media: The good, the bad, and the complicated. Information, Communication & Society, 19(9), 1187–1193. Retrieved March 23, 2019, from.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1187195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hampton, K. N., & Wellman, B. (2018). Lost and saved … again: The Moral panic about the loss of community takes hold of social media. Contemporary Sociology, 47(6), 643–651.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0094306118805415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hargittai, E., & Hsieh, Y. P. (2011). From dabblers to omnivores: A typology of social network site usage. In A networked self: Identity, community, and culture on social network sites. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Keim, M. E., & Noji, E. (2010). Emergent use of social media: A new age of opportunity for disaster resilience. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, 6(1), 47–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Latrobe City Council. (2015). Submission to the Hazelwood mine fire inquiry. 10 August 2015. Retrieved September 18, 2019, from http://hazelwoodinquiry.vic.gov.au/wpcontent/uploads/2015/08/Latrobe-City-Council_Submission.pdf
  21. Miller, D., & Slater, D. (2000). The internet: An ethnographic approach. London: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
  22. Moors, M. R. (2019). What is Flint? Place, storytelling, and social media narrative reclamation during the Flint water crisis. Information, Communication & Society, 0(0), 1–15.Google Scholar
  23. Murthy, D., & Gross, A. (2017). Social media processes in disasters: Implications of emergent technology use. Social Science Research, 63, 356–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Neubaum, G., Rösner, L., Rosenthal-von der Pütten, A. M., & Krämer, N. C. (2014). Psychosocial functions of social media usage in a disaster situation: A multi-methodological approach. Computers in Human Behavior, 34, 28–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Omnicore Agency. (2019). Retrieved March 23, 2019, from https://www.omnicoreagency.com/twitter-statistics/
  26. Perez-Lugo, M. (2004). Media uses in disaster situations; a new focus on the impact phase. Sociological Inquiry, 74(2), 210–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Picou, J. (2010). The BP catastrophe and sociological practice: Mitigating community impacts through peer-listening training. St Louis: AACS Presidential Address.Google Scholar
  28. Rainie, L., & Wellman, B. (2012). Networked: The new social operating system. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Reuter, C., & Spielhofer, T. (2017). Towards social resilience: A quantitative and qualitative survey on citizens’ perceptions of social media in emergencies in Europe. Technology Forecasting & Social Change, 121, 168–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rufas, A., & Hine, C. (2018). Everyday connections between online and offline: Imagining others and constructing community through local online initiatives. New Media & Society, 20(10), 3879–3897.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Simon, T., Goldberg, A., & Adini, B. (2015). Socializing in emergencies – A review of the use of social media in emergency situations. International Journal of Information Management, 35, 609–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Takazawa, A., & Williams, K. (2011). Communities in disasters: Helpless or helping? Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, 10, 429–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tandoc, E., & Takahashi, B. (2017). Log in if you survived: Collective coping on social media in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. New Media & Society, 19(11), 1778–1793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Taylor, M., Wells, G., Howell, G., & Raphael, B. (2012). The role of social media as psychological first aid as a support to community resilience building: A Facebook study from ‘Cyclone Yasi update’. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 27(1), 20–26.Google Scholar
  35. Teague, B., Catford, J., & Petering, S. (2014). Hazelwood mine fire inquiry report. Vol. 1. Melbourne: Vic Government Printers. Retrieved September 2017, from http://report.hazelwoodinquiry.vic.gov.au/
  36. Thornley, L., Ball, J., Signal, L., Lawson-Te Aho, K., & Rawson, E. (2015). Building community resilience: Learning from the Canterbury earthquakes. Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences, 10(1), 23–35.Google Scholar
  37. Turkle, S. (2011). Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  38. Wattchow, K. (2016). The future of the Latrobe Valley: Community leadership on just transition. Chain Reaction, 128, 22–23.Google Scholar
  39. Wellman, B., Haase, A. Q., Witte, J., & Hampton, K. (2001). Does the internet increase, decrease, or supplement social capital?: Social networks, participation, and community commitment. American Behavioral Scientist, 45(3), 436–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Willems, W. (2019). The politics of things’: Digital media, urban space, and the materiality of publics. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved March 23, 2019, from  https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443719831594CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Federation University AustraliaChurchillAustralia

Personalised recommendations