You can see that activity flare brightly in this extraordinary visualization of mapping a day in the life of Twitter by Chris McDowall.
Last week I hooked a computer up to the Twitter data streaming API and, over the course of a day, grabbed every tweet that had geographic coordinates. I wrote a Python script to parse the 2GB of JSON files and used Matplotlib with the Basemap extension to animate 25 hours of data on a world map. The resulting animation plots almost 530,000 tweets — and remember these are just tweets with geo-coordinates enabled.
I recommend you full-screen this video, turn scaling off and high definition on.
The animation begins at 5am on November 18, Greenwich Mean Time (United Kingdom). This corresponds to midnight Eastern Standard Time, 9pm Pacific Time (Nov 17) and 6pm in New Zealand (Nov 18).
There are some interesting things to note:
– It is possible to infer the passage of the sun across the map as data begins to stream out of mobile phones and desktops and previously dark patches of the map begin to glow white.
– At 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00 GMT waves of tweets pass across the United States from East to West. This is an automated Twitter service that tweets local news for specific ZIP codes.
– Turn your attention to Indonesia. Jakarta glows as brightly as New York and San Francisco.
– Note the black spots. With the exception of a few cities, such as Lagos and Johannesburg, Africa remains the dark continent.
Food for thought and a feast for the eyes as the weekend draws near.