The Oxford Internet Institute has recently published a study called A Geography of Twitter which examines Twitter traffic around the world. Not surprisingly the United States is first in Twitter usage, followed by Brazil, Indonesia and the UK. The study’s results are displayed graphically which we’ve come to expect from the Institute (see more of their data visualizations)–though I have to say visual displays carry their own confusions. Is the longer, thinner rectangle of the UK smaller, larger or the same size as the fatter but shorter rectangle of Indonesia? Too close to call to my eye.
Writes the authors of the study, Mark Graham and Monica Stephens:
By mapping the distribution of tweets in the world it becomes apparent that Twitter is allowing for broader participation than is possible in most other platforms and media. In other words, it might be allowing for a ‘democratisation’ of information production and sharing because of its low barriers to entry and adaptability to mobile devices. Similarly barriers to the dissemination of information, such as censorship, are also visible through the small proportion of tweets originating in China (home to the largest population of internet users in the world).