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The Geography of Twitter

Published on
3 Feb 2017
Written by
Mark Graham

A few months ago, Antonello Romano and I published some maps of Twitter. Those maps showed which parts of the world produced more content than others. However, what they failed to do is account for differences in Internet penetration around the world.

The above map normalises the Twitter data by internet population data: revealing the parts of the world that are home to internet users who are more likely to publish content on the platform.

You can see that the differences between places are not slight ones. Internet users in some countries (like Malaysia) are dozens of times more likely to tweet than internet users in places like India or Kenya.

As in painfully obvious in 2017, information in social media streams can have an outsized influence. Knowledge shared on Twitter can shape how people around understand society, the economy, and politics. But, as we see here, that knowledge has distinct geographies. It is far more likely to be created in some places than others.

Further reading:

Graham, M, S. Hale, and D. Gaffney. 2014. Where in the World are You? Geolocation and Language Identification in Twitter. The Professional Geographer 66(4) 568-578. (pre-publication version here)

Graham, M., De Sabbata, S., Zook, M. 2015. Towards a study of information geographies:(im)mutable augmentations and a mapping of the geographies of information Geo: Geography and Environment.2(1) 88-105. doi:10.1002/geo2.8

Graham, M. 2015. Information Geographies and Geographies of Information New Geographies 7 159-166.

Graham, M., S. Hale & M. Stephens. 2011. Geographies of the World’s KnowledgeConvoco! Edition.

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