Fostering Community Resilience through Adaptive Learning in a Social Media Age: Municipal Twitter Use in New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy

Yang Zhang, William Drake, Yuhong Li, Christopher Zobel, Margaret Cowell


Adaptive learning capacity is a critical component of community resilience that describes the ability of a community to effectively gauge its vulnerability to the external environment and to make appropriate changes to its coping strategies. Traditionally, the relationship between government and community learning was framed within a deterministic paradigm. Learning outcomes were understood to result from the activities of central actors (i.e., government) and flow passively into the community. The emergence of social media is fundamentally changing the ways organizations and individuals collect and share information. Despite its growing acceptance, it remains to be determined how this shift in communication will ultimately affect community adaptive learning, and therefore, community resilience. This paper presents the initial results of a mixed-methods research effort that examined the use of Twitter in local municipalities from Monmouth County, NJ after Hurricane Sandy. Using a conceptual model of organizational learning, we examine the learning outcomes following the Hurricane Sandy experience.

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