October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween from Floating Sheep, Part II: A Zyberscape of Zweets

The denizens of Floating Sheep space are beginning to explore Twitter and there is a need to experiment with the API interface and various datasets. So what better way to do this than to use zombies! [1] So that we can visualize "a zyberscape of zweets"!

Location and Relative Amount of Tweets referencing Zombies (Zweets) Worldwide

The kmz for this (including the individual tweets) can be downloaded as well

Ate Poorthuis (a Ph.D. student at the University of Kentucky) spear-headed (pun intended) the zombie data collection process, which is relatively straightforward. The method was to use Twitter's Streaming API to download all zombie-related tweets between October 28 and October 31. We collected all messages containing references to zombies, undead and the apocalypse which appeared at a rate of about 45 tweets per minute for a total of 230,000 tweets. That's a lot of zombie angst!

We also thought it would be interesting to look at other forms of zombie-tude and turned to the fount of all knowledge to search the term "zombie politician" which returned many references to Newt Gingrich. So we added Newt to the list of search terms. Unfortunately there were so few geocoded tweets referencing Newt (perhaps lending some credence to the zombie politician label) that the resulting map looked as sparse as the teeth in a .... wait for it .... zombie. Rimshot!

Unfortunately, only 1.1% of those tweets were geocoded. While the profile of each Twitter user also contains a user-defined location field we decided to only use the coordinates of the actual tweet. These can be generated by a GPS-enabled phone or by 'smart' Twitter clients. Most tweets are geocoded to a specific point but others refer to a polygon (e.g. a city), in which case we've used the centroid of the polygon.

In any case, the end result is a database that shows the location of geocoded tweets containing the keyword "zombie". A few tweaks and the acquisition of a nice zombie icon later resulted in the cyberscapes (or perhaps more accurately zyberscapes) of zombie tweets (also know as Zweets) featured above and below. While the normal patterns of technology use are present (high concentrations in the U.S. and Europe) there are also a relatively large number (compare to other aspects of the geoweb) of references in Indonesia and South America

And for those interested in a closer look at the U.S., please see below.

Location and Relative Amount of Tweets referencing Zombies (Zweets) in the U.S.

[1] OK, there are probably lots of other and better ways to do this, but its Halloween!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.