World Twitter Geography

Tue 10 July 2012 10:00, Vitto Christaldi

World Twitter Geography

Which Middle-Eastern country has the most Twitter users? Is it true that Brazil has a higher tweet ratio than the United States? How about people in Africa; do they tweet as much?

Researchers from Oxford Internet Institute have recently created a visualization of the data showing where the tweets around the world are coming from. To create this visual, the researchers first had to collect all georeferenced tweets between March 5th and March 13th, 2012 (these georeferenced tweets comprise less than 1% of all tweets). After that, the researchers took a 20% random sample of tweets and ended up with approximately 4.5 million tweets that they spatially joined at the country-level. The result of the study is shown in the graphic below.


Visualization of Twitter geography by Oxford Internet Institute (Click here to enlarge)


The box size represents the number of geo-tagged tweets per country. Based on that, we can clearly see the six largest Twitter countries in the world. The United States is standing on the top, followed by Brazil, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Malaysia. Turkey is not in the top 6, but it has the most Twitter users in the Middle East!

The color intensity represents the ratio of tweets per country. Here you can see that Brazil, Malaysia, and Kuwait have the highest ratio of tweets in the world, while the United States, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Spain, Netherlands, Chile, and Ireland have a medium percentage of Twitter penetration.

Brazil does not only have the second largest number of Twitter users worldwide, but is also one of the countries with the highest tweet ratio – it’s even higher than in the United States. In general, we may conclude that Brazil is the most Twitter-engaged country worldwide.

Finally, to answer your last question: no, people in Africa don’t really tweet. South Africa and Nigeria are the two largest Twitter countries in Africa, but they are still short on tweets compared to the rest of the world. Besides, their Twitter ratios are fairly low.

Yet, as the researchers stated, “more research is undoubtedly necessary to better understand the geography of content on the platform. Our sample in this post is limited, and even more importantly, only allows us to visualize the quantity of georeferenced tweets that pass through the platform”. Still, this graphic is quite interesting and useful, especially if you are planning to take your business abroad through the social network.

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