Advanced Social Maps May Influence City Planning

via PSFK
via PSFK

What we can learn about cities from social network chatter

Data from social networks can reveal some very interesting things. One technologist, Dave Troy, has started to draw upon that large swath of data to compare cities’ diversity and gain a better understanding of what’s important to its denizens.

At a recent TED speaking engagement, Troy shared some of the maps he created using data from Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn and others to show what people were talking about and who was doing that talking. As a quick key to these maps, each dot represents a person (or user account), each line represents a relationship, and each color group represents a community of interest.

Starting in his hometown of Baltimore, Troy found that even though the city has earned a nickname of Smalltimore, people are talking about widely different things and that perhaps that notion of smallness is because people aren’t venturing out into different communities. He saw sports as a topic that bridged the divide between ethnicities.

In San Francisco, there was an unmistakable influx of chatter around geek culture and even Twitter employees. The art and LGBTQ communities were linked to the tech crowds primarily through topics like media, news, and politics, which seems to hold consistent with the social tensions that currently exist in the city around gentrification.

In other cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Troy noticed a far more heterogenous and multicultural personality with groups engaged in politics, but other significant pockets of interest in specific music genres, stand up comedy or the Flamenco football team.

Read more: Advanced Social Maps May Influence City Planning


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