Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Twitter analysis tracking #LondonBridge

UPDATE: My prediction that is was likely a false alarm seems to be confirmed. To sum up based on my Big Data analysis of social media in the area I concluded it looked like nothing major had happened other than the emergency response. If this is true I will have used analysis of Twitter to determine what was happening in real time.
Official and crowd reports are coming in of a incident at London Bridge train station which has required a fairly significant emergency response.

I am tracking the response on Twitter

The station is seeing something elevated tweeting, but nothing extreme yet. The incident started at 10 am via reports from both the crowd and confirmed official reports.

I am confident that what ever it is it is not involve an explosion or shots fired. Why? Because looking at the twitter stream coming from the area around the station there are only about 10% of tweets mentioning the incident. This indicates that no load noses or smoke has been seen. Also so far all tweets just concern the presence of emergency services, I have yet to see any solid data about what is going on inside.

For example tracking the recent fire in Brazil, very quickly the local twitter stream was dominated by chatter about the fire. What is striking about London Bridge is how normal tweets are that do not mention the presence of police, ambulance and fire service. Rumours on twitter presently talk about possible gas leak, gas leaks often turn out to be nothing.

So the lack of much twitter activity about what seems like a major emergency response while normal twitter traffic continues opens a interesting possibility:  this is a false alarm, and twitter activity (the lack of public alarm or reports of anything) indicated it was a false alarm.  So I will be following closely to see if twitter analysis determined the status of this emergency. This opens the potential not only for news tracking but for intelligence on emergency response, tracking the public mood and discussions in real time to see what it could be telling us about an emergency.

You can track tweets from near London Bridge with this tool

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