Comparative Study of Networked Communities, Crisis Communication, and Technology: Rhetoric of Disaster in Nepal Earthquake and Hurricane Maria

In April and May 2015 Nepal suffered two massive earthquakes of 7.5 and 6 5 magnitudes in the Richter scale killing 8856 and injuring 22309. Two years later in September 2017, Puerto Rico underwent category five hurricane Maria killing an estimate of 800 to 8000 people and displacing hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans (Kishore et al., 2018). This dissertation project is the comparative study of Nepal’s and Puerto Rico’s networked communities, their participants (Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison, & Weigel, n. d. ; Potts, 2014), the users (Ingraham, 2015; Johnson, 1998) and the experience architects (Gerding, 2018; Potts & Salvo, 2017) who used crisis communication practices to address the havoc created by the disaster. Using a mixed methods research approach and with framework created of Actor-Network Theory (Latour, 2005; L. Potts, 2014; Spinuzzi, 2003) as well as the Assemblage Theory (DeLanda, 2016), I argue that disasters create situations in which various networked communities are formed along with an emergence of innovative digital composition and communication practices.