This study utilized social network analysis to identify the top 10 Twitter influentials during the Hurricane Irma crisis period and examined the relationship between social media attributes and the bridge influence of controlling information flow. The number of a user’s followers and tweets significantly predicted one’s control of information. Crisis information tended to be shared in scattered subgroups. Social network boundaries impeded information diffusion, and the communication pattern was largely one-way. The findings partially supported the opinion leader argument while indicating that influentials can directly generate information, which is consistent with the social-mediated crisis communication model. Such findings will contribute to crisis literature and help emergency management professionals advance social media usage to disseminate crisis information, build effective communication, and provide immediate disaster relief responses



Author ORCID Identifier

Xianlin Jin: 0000-0002-7691-2984