Mapping the world with Tweets | War of Ideas
Le monde au prisme de Twitter
The project covers the period of the Oct. 23, 2102, to November 30, 2012. During this time, 1,535,929,521 tweets were streamed from 71,273,997 unique users — about 2.8 terabytes worth of data. But only about 3.04 percent of those contained geolocation data — either exact coordinates from mobile phones or user-selected locations. All the same, that’s an awful lot of geographical information, and allowed the authors to create this map of a month in the life of Twitter.
Of course, the most conspicuous black spot is the world’s most populous country, China, where Twitter is banned. Twitter users in China use advanced VPNs and often change their identified location, which would throw off the image.
If you zoom in on a region with a high rate of Twitter use, you can get a fairly accurate picture of population density, similar to what you would see in a satellite photo showing electric lights at night.
A map shows the tweets color-coded by the language they’re written in. Another one just maps Tweets in English to give a picture of the Anglophone Twitterverse.
They also looked at how representative Twitter is compared to the mainstream media. Finally, they examined the geography of retweeting.