With Help from Afar: Cross-Local Communication in an Online COVID-19 Pandemic Community

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2 Scopus citations


Crisis informatics research has examined geographically bounded crises, such as natural or man-made disasters, identifying the critical role of local and hyper-local information focused on one geographic area in crisis communication. The COVID-19 pandemic represents an understudied kind of crisis that simultaneously hits locales across the globe, engendering an emergent form of crisis communication, which we term cross-local communication. Cross-local communication is the exchange of crisis information between geographically dispersed locales to facilitate local crisis response. To unpack this notion, we present a qualitative study of an online migrant community of overseas Taiwanese who supported fellow Taiwanese from afar. We detail four distinctive types of cross-local communication: situational updates, risk communication, medical consultation, and coordination. We discuss how the current pandemic situation brings new understandings to crisis informatics and online health community literature, and what role digital technologies could play in supporting cross-local communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number321
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW2
StatePublished - Oct 18 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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