Saturday, 12 November 2011

Twitter, human society and molecules

Above is a map of New York City.  From this scale of an entire city we see that tweeting, which relates to the concentrations and activities tends be be structured.  Not surprisingly Manhattan is more concentrated, with its high building and venues.  Shoppers, tourists, partiers and locals fill this most city of all cities.

Looking out like this we see a Social Order very much like Newton view of the world.  Things are clearly structure.  Manhattan dominates the tweets, as you move north to poorer Harlem tweeting falls off.  We have noticed also in Chicago a pronounced line between tweeting by richer white and poorer people of color who often live only a few miles from each other.

Sociological concepts of urban planning and development, class and social status all structure a world we can make sense of and easily read.  But when I focus in at the area around the World Trade Center we see a distribution that is very different.  Here we see the area around the Occupy Wall Street area showing the tweets in a several block area.  Notice the tweets are far more randomly distributed.  Its hard to tell precisely where this location is.

It seems that humans act like gases as described by Boltzmann who showed us that our ordered world is actually grounded by a chaotic statistical world.  So the world of gases and tweets change as you move in scale, from an ordered understandable constant world of the macro to a chaotic statistical world of the micro or local.

But its not only scale variance that marks tweeting, phase variance of changes between states take place.  We saw a recent one that was interesting during the November 9th student protests in London.

Above graph shows a fairly typical distribution of tweets in London during the day.  Below is the map during the November 9th Student Protests.  As you can clearly see the demonstrations gave a unique form to tweeting activity by both concentrating people and attention along the protest route, and emptying out regions. Bloomsbury, where students would often be hanging out was left empty as students moved towards the City of London.  This was a remarkable phase change of London moving from ordinary day to political demonstration.  A clear structure emerged in London's west end tweeting that is normally not there.  It is almost like London moved from a 'gas' state to a 'solid' state of tweeting during the protest.

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1 comment:

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