Social media use and goals after the Great East Japan Earthquake

Joo-Young Jung


This paper examines the use of social media after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Based on media system dependency theory, the study focuses on the ways in which people used different types of social media to cope with a highly ambiguous situation created by the earthquake. A survey of Japanese university students revealed that the respondents used different forms of social media with different goals. Moreover, use of a particular social media type influenced the relative importance of social media for understanding developments relating to the Fukushima nuclear accident. Social media users and non–users also differed with regard to their use of other media. The implications of the current study in the context of ongoing research of the role of media in disaster situations are discussed.


social media; earthquake; disaster; media system dependency; Facebook; Twitter

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