Saturday, 26 January 2013

Tweeting levels and variation case study: Amsterdam and Athens

As part of my work I have been tracking levels of tweeting at major cities around the world.  In this case study I look at the first two on my list, Amsterdam and Athens, to see how very different cities are using tweeting very differently.  

Almost three days tweeting variation in the centre of Amsterdam, with 0 being midnight Jan 25 2012.  Scale is Log 3 to make variations easy to read.  The thin black line is a 10 day running average.
 In Amsterdam city centre tweeting is serious business.  For 1 KM radius around the center of Amsterdam you will almost never get under 200 get tagged tweets an hour.  There seems to be some variation with tweeting lowest around 11 ask and highest around later afternoon to evening.  Looking at the numbers it seems that tweeps in Amsterdam stays high from after lunch though to the early hours of the day.

Several days of tweets from Amsterdam, each vertical line reflects a 24 hour period.  Lines are drawn at 3 PM local time.

As the above graph clearly shows there is a 24 cycle in tweets coming from Amsterdam, with low points in the late afternoon repeating almost every 24 hours.  Take a look at this graph and try to find a low point that does not come right before the 24 line, there are very few. So though tweeting is high in Amsterdam is does show a 24 cycle, which is not surprising at all. What is a bit surprising is that the low points are late afternoon and not evening.

Same time period in Athens.

Athens city center has much lower tweeting.  Athens has far less usage of mobile tweeting than Amsterdam with the average tweets in a 1KM radius around the city center moving from low of about 20 to a high of 200.  We see a more pronounced pattern in the tweets.  Tweeting in Athens is an evening activity peaking around midnight and lowering during the day.  First speculation is that Greeks are using mobile tweets as a social platform, to organize night out.

Conclusions: Clearly there are some significant cultural differences in how tweeting is produced.  The differences between Amsterdam and Athens can not be accounted for in size, Athens is much bigger, or wealth really.  It is true that Athens is a poorer city than Amsterdam, but we see very high geo-tagged tweeting in Jakarta which is significantly poorer than Athens.

Given the low cost of entry level Nokia smart phones it is hard to see an argument that a people who smoke as much as the Greeks can't also afford mobile phones.  Rather cultural differences clearly have a strong impact on defining the rates of twitter adoption in communities.

Having been to Athens many times, and Amsterdam, I would suspect key facts in the differences are:

  • Both cities are major tourist cities, but Amsterdam attracts a large number of young tourists who are more likely to tweet.
  • Amsterdam is a major hub of IT development and excellence.
  • Greeks have preserved traditional social networks that stress face to face connections.  I assume a young Greek with a smart phone is more likely to see friends face to face on a regular basis than a young Dutch person, giving less reason to tweet other than meet up instructions. 

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