Exploring the effect of perceived distance on sharing of crisis information in social media

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Conference Proceeding

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In this paper, we propose a study to examine the effect of psychological distance on people's intention to contribute to disaster responses. Following past research, we predict that people are more likely to engage in news reporting a disaster when they perceive the event close to rather than far away from them. Accordingly, they will be more likely to share related information and make donation to a disaster relief campaign. To test our prediction, in a proposed experiment we will ask participants to estimate the distance to an earthquake recently occurred in Sumatra, Indonesia. Participants will then describe their feelings in response to the message, rate the likelihood of forwarding information, and estimate how much they would like to donate. We expect our results to reveal the relationship between perceived distance and people's willingness to participate in disaster rescue, particularly sharing of information and donation to charities. This work contributes to existing literature researching the role of psychological factors in crisis information diffusion. We provide suggestions for practitioners to better organize disaster relief activities, so that the negative impacts on people and society, caused by a devastating event, can be mitigated.

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ACM International Conference Proceeding Series

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