Title: Emergent Crowdwork during Disaster Events
Speaker: Kate Starbird (Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, University of Washington)
Date: Tuesday, November 11
Time: 12-1pm
Room: NSH 3305

Crisis events in the physical world are now precipitating mass convergence events online, where thousands and in some cases millions of people turn to social media to seek and share information. This activity includes a new form of spontaneous volunteerism—digital volunteerism—where individuals and organizations come together in online spaces to provide assistance, both to those affected and to emergency responders. Often this takes the form of informational assistance, as volunteers help to process, filter, categorize, map and route information. My research has focused on ways in which remote volunteers contribute to these efforts. In this talk, I will cover some of this previous research, and discuss as well more recent studies examining how members of affected communities, including emergency responders and volunteers, come together with remote volunteers to participate in "emergent crowdwork" after disaster events.

Kate Starbird is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) at the University of Washington. Dr. Starbird examines online interaction and collaboration in the context of crisis events, specifically looking at how people appropriate social media to help inform others and coordinate response efforts during natural disasters and other large-scale crises. One focal area of her research is digital volunteerism, where remote individuals attempt to provide assistance to those affected. In a related project, she is investigating the flow of misinformation with particular focus on the "work" of the crowd to challenge and correct false rumors. Dr. Starbird's research, which incorporates theory and methods from social science and computer science, is situated within the fields of human-computer interaction (HCI) and computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) as well as the emerging research areas of crowdsourcing and crisis informatics.