The article examines the role of social media in mitigating information asymmetry and coordination problems during COVID-19 epidemic crisis. We use “Sisters-Fight-Epidemic” online volunteering project during the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, as a case to demonstrate how social media plays a role as a mechanism in linking multiple stakeholders and shaping their actions during the epidemic response. We show that social media facilitates the self-organizing processes of volunteers and develops the emergency information networks, therefore enabling a relatively efficient relief responses to the needs of epidemic victims particularly female medical workers. This article also identifies spontaneous online volunteering project as a new form of nonprofit organization and as a new emergent response group that can leverage the strengths of social media in disaster responses to enable effective coordination, initiate advocacy, and improve transparency of relief efforts.
- online volunteering
- social media