Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Where do tweets in Nairobi come from?

Earlier I posted a map of tweets about the Kenyan presidential debate that showed a distinct geography of information about the event. Doing so made me wonder about the broader patterns of information production in Nairobi through Twitter.

So (with the help of Adham Tamer and Ning Wang), I pulled a database of all geocoded tweets published from Kenya in the entire month of November and plotted them onto a streetmap of Nairobi. The result is a bit messy, but clearly shows cores and peripheries of information production in the city. The CBD for instance is blanketed in a layer of information, whereas Kibera (which is the largest urban slum in Africa) barely has any content at all produced from it.

7 comments:

Jessi Breen said...

Just to clarify...the tweets are mapped to where the user was the moment the tweet was sent, right? So, conceivably the tweets in Kibera could have been generated by someone from a more affluent area just passing through?

Anonymous said...

hmm not surprising. .if there was a way to analyse facebook updates in a similar manner I have a feeling one would not get the same results

Mark Graham said...

@Jessi - yes, that's right. The coordinates are generated from the location of the user at the time of the publication of the tweet.

Asiya Wadud said...

As the elections approach, it could also be interesting to layer other geo-coded data, like Ushahidi crisis reporting and data from other aggregate media platforms. Nairobi is a very polarized city (in terms of income), so it's interesting to see that geo-coded Twitter posts travel with income as well... I wonder what platforms people in the many informal settlements are using, though. There's not a dearth of information sharing there, just a dearth of geo-located Twitter posts. Thanks for sharing, this is really fascinating!

Erica Hagen said...

Actually, there are quite a few Twitter users residing in Kibera. We watch the Twitter feed with keyword "Kibera" here: http://voiceofkibera.org - but that's people talking about Kibera not necessarily while there. Tweets which aren't geotagged won't show up on your map, and many using Twitter in the slums won't have that function. Also, agree with the post saying Facebook mapping would show something entirely different.

Felista Wakina said...

From my assessment alot of people in Kibera and similar areas are at the bottom of the pyramid meaning they generally do not have disposable income and time, many will load 10 - 20 sh on their line just to send a few urgent sms or call a family members.

Anonymous said...

first, it's true tweets are generated from the location where one was when tweeting. But also we need to consider, 'who' tweets, and not just 'where' of who is tweeting. what are the spaces of kenyan tweeps? I follow #kot & this tells me these are not kibera residents, its an elite, middle class majority