Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Amazing twitter map of London student protest

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This image was taken during the Student Protest in London on 9th of November. It shows people leaving tweets from mobile devices over a three hour period. You can see how the protest route through London is clearly formed. You can track twitter anywhere in the world with this tool.
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This massive red area around shows the route of student protest through London over a few hour period.  It is important to understand that this area is not just students in the protest tweeting.  Governments often see this data and think the social media and mobile phones is somehow making the demonstration.  

Certainly some of this tweeting is communications between members of the protest.  This is just part of how people interact and coordinate in the modern world.  Web 3.0 is extending our use of language and our social patterns, potentially making us more agile and collaborative.

But also there are a lot of people seeing the protest who are tweeting about it.  This tweeting can be positive or negative, but what we are seeing is part of the process of democratic reaction to a protest. 

And beyond that a lot of people caught up in the event are tweeting about roads closed or meetings missed.  So the size of the disturbance in London of thousand of police closing off much of the city causes people to use twitter to complain, to communicate and potentially to find work around.  Again the agile ability of Web 3.0 showing itself in an event.

But when you drill down on the posts at events like this you see a great deal of tweeting about things unrelated to the protest.  London is a massive city, this demonstration greatly impacted daily routines in the city.  Twitter not only enables these demons and the response to the demos, but also helps people keep on with their normal life in the face of social events.  People can carry on conversations with friends they can't meet, and entertain themselves while waiting for a police block to clear, or keep up to date on reality TV when they are huddled in an Occupy tent. 

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