Looking at social media activity in a densely populated area like New York City can reveal a lot about the people who live there.
A new set of maps from the DOLLY Project at the University of Kentucky uses geotagged tweets to demonstrate where members of certain social groups are concentrated around the city.
The first map compared tweets that referenced hipsters with those that mentioned bro culture.
“Although mortal enemies in the wild, we wanted to see whether domestication (via urbanization and Twitter) might cause these archetypes to adapt different grazing patterns,” DOLLY analysts wrote in a blog post.
The study was conducted on tweets that were posted between June 2012 and March 2014, and the data was normalized to prevent particularly active Twitter users from skewing the results.
In that time period, there were 12,319 tweets with “hipster” references, represented by the darker areas on the map below. In a not-very-surprising conclusion, they found that hipsters were more concentrated in the gentrifying areas of Brooklyn like Williamsburg and DUMBO, as well as in Manhattan’s SoHo and NoHo neighborhoods.
Tweets mentioning bros, on the other hand, were much more common — 239,412 tweets referencing the college-aged, partying male demographic — and generally seemed to be located in a belt around Manhattan. Bros are represented by the lighter-coloured hexagons on the map.
The DOLLY project also created a map comparing tweets from NYC bankers and artists.
Bankers, represented by the dark hexagons in the map below, tweeted most often from the Financial District and the residential Upper West Side and Upper East Side neighborhoods. Interestingly enough, they also tweeted from the area’s airports fairly often.
Artists seemed to be distributed in several different areas around the city, especially Brooklyn, Queens, and upper Manhattan.
“These two examples illustrate how using more context-appropriate methods for aggregating and visualising geotagged social media data can provide meaningful (or at least interesting!) insight into the spatial distribution of cultural-economic identities in the city,” the analysts wrote.
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