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Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Editor-in-Chief: Renda-Tanali, Irmak

Managing Editor: McGee, Sibel

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CiteScore 2018: 1.19

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Closing the Citizen-Government Communication Gap: Content, Audience, and Network Analysis of Government Tweets

Clayton Wukich
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Political Science, Sam Houston State University, 1901 Avenue I, Rm 496D, Huntsville, TX 77341, USA
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Ines Mergel
  • Department of Public Administration and International Affairs, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, 215 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2015-07-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsem-2014-0074


A key task in emergency management is the timely dissemination of information to decision makers across different scales of operations, particularly to individual citizens. Incidents over the past decade highlight communication gaps between government and constituents that have led to suboptimal outcomes. Social media can provide valuable tools to reduce those gaps. This article contributes to the existing literature on social media use by empirically demonstrating how and to what extent state-level emergency management agencies employ social media to increase public participation and promote behavioral changes intended to reduce household and community risk. Research to this point has empirically examined only response and recovery phases related to this process. This article addresses each phase of emergency management through the analysis of Twitter messages posted over a 3-month period. Our research demonstrates that while most messages conformed to traditional one-to-many government communication tactics, a number of agencies employed interactive approaches including one-to-one and many-to-many strategies.

Keywords: emergency management communication; social convergence; social network analysis; twitter


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About the article

Corresponding author: Clayton Wukich, Department of Political Science, Sam Houston State University, 1901 Avenue I, Rm 496D, Huntsville, TX 77341, USA, e-mail:

Published Online: 2015-07-15

Published in Print: 2015-09-01

Citation Information: Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Volume 12, Issue 3, Pages 707–735, ISSN (Online) 1547-7355, ISSN (Print) 2194-6361, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsem-2014-0074.

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