New Study Finds Twitter Reinforces Place-Based Networks

A new study that explores the geography of twitter networks finds that rather than making place obsolete, their intensity can be predicted by location and proximity, suggesting they enhance location based relationships.
December 10, 2011, 11am PST | George Haugh
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The research, carried out by University of Toronto and Dalhousie University academics, focused on roughly 2,000 dyadic tweeters, which they located in 386 distinct locations, or "regional clusters."

Their results indicated that four in every ten pairs are located in the same regional cluster, and that those that were separated by distance were linked by a high frequency of airline connections between their respective locations. "Ties of less than 1,000 kilometers are more common than expected (if such ties were random) and ties of greater than 5,000 kilometers are much less so."

The research indicates that twitter networks tends to reinforce and strengthen real world networks, rather than replace them. Richard Florida suggests that "instead of freeing us from place, the Internet appears to enhance and even expand its role."

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Published on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 in The Atlantic
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