Friday, 14 December 2012

Tweeting from a tragedy in Newtown Connecticut

Tweeting levels around Newtown Connecticut Sandy Hook Elementary School, level shows geo-tagged tweets per hour with 250 meters of the school.  Embed coded: <iframe height="450" src=";lat=41.41959999746598" width="100%"></iframe>

We have seen a pattern of elevated tweet usage after a school shooting for some time.  Using tweeter in such a situation makes perfect sense.  One can make a tweet very quickly and all of one's friends and family can see at once, along with law enforcement. There is no stressful delay as people phone each other with information. But there is also a danger that potential victims are giving away their locations by tweeting with geo-locations.

Map showing the number of tweets and re-tweets from the area of the shooting site. 

The above windows shows tweets within a KM to the shooting.  As with many major news stories most of the traffic is due to RTs.  Over 90% of the tweets are RTs in fact.  We count these RT in determine the store because they give an important picture of who finds a location important and how important an event is.      It is not the case that over 130 tweets are coming from the location.  Rather a few tweets from a location are being retweeted over and over again.

It makes obvious sense to me to count there.  If 5 tweets from one located are retweeted 1,000 times you have a pretty safe bet that something significant has happened in a location.

By contrast tweeting levels are low for the local hight school and the rest of the town.  So we can see a simply principle of deciding the 'importance' of events on the ground.  If there are a lot of retweets of tweets from a location it is likely that a significant event is happening there.

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