Twitter users are more inclined to get connected with people in nearby places, reveals a recent study. This is one of the many paradoxes of the modern world as Twitter users are more aware of places nearby than those far off, according to a report from CityLab.com.
Users more aware of nearby places
Geographers at the University of California Santa Barbara and San Diego State University conducted a study to find out the level of awareness among Americans about global cities. For this, they made use of Twitter data and concluded that the level of awareness is limited to nearby places. “Our social media interactions are restricted by our physical location. Even online, people tend to interact with others living nearby,” the study said.
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For instance, people residing in New York were more familiar with the cities of Canada, while those residing in Los Angeles were more aware of the cities of Mexico. This can easily be considered a reflection of the relative proximity of these cities with the other places. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Twitter geotags used for study
The study also found that Twitter users residing in large and densely populated cities such as New York and Los Angeles were much more aware of the world’s geography compared to those belonging to small or mid-sized cities.
For the study, researchers tracked the names of cities in the messages that included Twitter geotags. The top 50 U.S. cities with the densest populations were selected for the study. Then researchers collected tweets made within a radius of 30 km from the center of each of those 50 cities. In the end, they were left with 5 million tweets that had mentions of thousands of cities worldwide. Researchers then prepared a Global Awareness Index (GAI) for the purpose of quantifying the geographic awareness of users belonging to a particular city. A high GAI indicates that international and/or distant U.S. cities had more mentions than local city names and vice versa.