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Using Social Media for Scientific Research: Experiences from a Tornado Debris Research Project

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Wednesday, 7 November 2012
Symphony III and Foyer (Loews Vanderbilt Hotel)
John A. Knox, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA; and A. W. Black, J. Rackley, and V. Gensini

Social media is a tool that allows users to connect with each other even across considerable distances. A meteorological dataset of tornado debris from the 27 April 2011 tornadoes in Alabama was constructed using items returned to their owners through the “Pictures and Documents found after the April 27, 2011 Tornadoes” Facebook page. This poster describes the process used to compile the data, quality control methods, and caveats regarding the use of social media for scientific purposes. These methods may applicable to the collection of other meteorological data from social media, such as damage reports.