Community and Regional Planning Program


Date of this Version

Fall 12-2014


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Community and Regional Planning, Major: Community and Regional Planning, Under the Supervision of Professor Zhenghong Tang. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Ligang Zhang



Social media encompasses online communication platforms. Presently, it has been involved in the management and mitigation of crises and disasters. The paper discusses the use of social meida and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) in the management of the 2014’s California drought. The significance of social media and volunteered geographic information is emphasized in the study. As well as factors that influence the suitability of the two, social media and voluntary geographic information in the whole process of managing the California drought are also explored. The SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of one-way info-sharing, two-way info-sharing, rumor control, reconnection, decision making, donation and volunteer management is well elaborated in the paper. Various state government departments use social media or social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other websites to interact with citizens and give them first-hand information. They use social media and VGI to deliver information, prepare and train people in combating processes, and generally coordinate in the whole practice. There are various types of social media or social network, including blogs, photo and video sharing, and social bookmarking. All these, when applied suitably, play a significant role in drought mitigation and management.

Social media communication concerning disaster management and mitigation is completed among emergency responders, governments, non-governmental organizations, the public and journalists. It helps with a timely dissemination of information that is necessary in disaster combat measures. In California drought, social media has played a crucial role in its mitigation and management. The role of social media in California Drought Management includes one-way information sharing, situational awareness, and decision-making.

Advisor: Zhenghong Tang