Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Making Sense of Ferguson Tweets

I've already stated my disinterest in Twitter's map, News of  Ferguson Spreads Across Twitter, which really signifies nothing except that a lot of people around the world have Tweeted about the situation in Ferguson. Mapbox has now released a map using Twitter data from Tweets about Ferguson which actually tries to make sense of some of the social media activity around the events unfolding in the Missouri town.

The opening map view in  Ferguson, MO, Tweets shows how visitors have converged on the town. The lines on the map show where people Tweeting in Ferguson have traveled from. Mapbox compared geotagged Tweets from Ferguson with previous Tweets from the same people to determine which Tweets were made by locals and which were made by visitors to the town.

This first map view shows an incredible influx into the town from across the world. Presumably a large proportion of these visitors are journalists and people working for news organisations.

The map includes three other views; Local Tweets, Visitor Tweets and All Tweets. Locals are determined by looking at whether the Twitter users had most recently tweeted within seven miles of Ferguson.  The 'All Tweets' view shows the local Tweets in green and the visitor Tweets in purple. This view shows that the visitors to Ferguson are mainly clustered around distinct locations, suggesting that reporters of a feather presumably tend to flock together.

You can read more about the map and this clustering of local and visitor Tweets on the Mapbox blog.

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