It didn't take long for the term "Frankenstorm" to catch on. Shortly after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration first used the term this past Thursday, the first geotagged tweet was created by @SStirling, a data journalist for the Star-Ledger newspaper in Newark, NJ, around 11:06am that day.
Mapping the Frankenstorm
After aggregating the tweets to the county level, a quick glance reveals some striking, if not unsurprising, patterns. Despite being a major national news event, Twitter activity around the storm has been incredibly concentrated along the east coast where the storm is expected to hit the hardest, demonstrating a clear connection to the places in the path of the storm. While itself not surprising, the precise level of concentration is a bit more startling. Indeed, over 40% of the total number of geotagged tweets referencing Frankenstorm in this sample come from just eight counties along the east coast.
Frankenstorm Hot Spots
Just 23 counties across the United States had more tweets referencing the Frankenstorm than Los Angeles, which had 46 tweets, breaking up what would otherwise represent a clear effect of distance decay in predicting the number of tweets referencing the Frankenstorm. In contrast to the relatively concentrated pattern discussed above, a cluster of references comparably significant to areas of Maine, Pennsylvania and Virginia pops up around over 2000 miles away from the path of the storm, while areas in between in the American south and midwest show no such clusters.
Though L.A.'s large population makes this concentration of activity somewhat less surprising, the city's position within the national (and global) urban hierarchy offers a somewhat more interesting (at least to geographers!) explanation. When considering L.A.'s centrality within the global air transportation system and the fact that thousands of flights have been affected by the storm, there emerges a range of alternative explanations emphasizing the relationship between Los Angeles and the cities along the east coast more directly affected by the storm. For instance, at least a handful of tweets, like those below from @robyntomlin and @paulhogarth, specifically reference air travel from Los Angeles to the east coast and into the path of the impending Frankenstorm.
 Despite there being a range of possible keywords possible here -- such as "Hurricane Sandy" itself -- we, in typical Floatingsheep fashion, chose only to map the more ridiculous "Frankenstorm". As such, the analysis here is tempered by this limitation.
 No members of the Floatingsheep collective were harmed in the making of this map. Taylor did, however, bravely venture out into the Frankenstorm to make it to the office in order to produce these maps, and his pants were appropriately drenched for this effort.