Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
Occupy Wall Street inspires more than protests: mapping tweets and Facebook pages
October 27th, 2011 by Susan Smith
One month into the Occupy Wall Street protest, the internet is populated with maps depicting activity around the event, not only in the U.S. but in other countries as well. The movement has inspired map makers who may have been headed in another direction, such as Humphrey Flowerdew, who along with his partner, Trung Huynh, both based in London, were originally in business to use their Crafivy to aggregate and map real estate listings.
“I don’t really have a strong political opinion,” says Humphrey Flowerdew, who started mapping Occupy Wall Street tweets on Cravify.com. “I’m just interested in technology and what practical things you can do with it.”
Beginning with the London Riots in August, the pair recognized they could use the same technology to track Tweets. They created a feature that would alert users when someone tweeted from their neighborhood. Once they launched the feature, Huynh and Flowerdew used their personal twitter accounts to let people know about the new service. Flowerdew says the page had 25,000 unique visitors within 24 hours.
There was more to this type of mapping than met the eye, Huynh and Flowerdew figured when they saw the Cravify riot site’s rapidly accelerating userbase. So they began to track Occupy Wall Street tweets.
According to Flowerdew and Huynh, in addition to seeing where the protests are creating the most chatter, users can read individual tweets to see how the public are perceiving the protests in different locations.
“It’s just a different way to get a quick snapshot of what is happening around the world,” Flowerdew says.
Not only that, but it gauges public sentiment. It also creates a paradigm shift in the way we use geospatial and location technology in a social media context.
Esri’s Occupy Wall Street social media map is similar as it views the conversations related to the recent demonstrations in New York and around the world. Areas of Interest bookmarks allow you to navigate to cities with active protests.
Other maps tracking tweets and Facebook include:
Mother Jones is maintaining an interactive map of “Occupy” protests around the US, and in other countries.
Official Occupy Wall Street.org site
The Huffington Post analyzed the state of activism on Facebook in response to the Occupy Wall Street protests. Over 450,000 Facebook users have joined Facebook pages related to the protests so far.
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