Less people tweet per capita from larger cities than in smaller ones, according to a US study which indicates an unexpected trend that may help understand urban pace of life. Researchers from University of Illinois in the US found that while there are less people tweeting, there are a group of people who tweet prolifically.
This suggests there is a concentrated core of more active users that may serve as information broadcasters for larger cities, they said. Researchers have long studied the pace of life in cities. The more people there are in a city, the faster the pace of life: people walk faster, clocks are faster, there are more phone calls, and more crime, the researchers said.
However, not everything is bigger in cities: per capita, smaller cities have more roads, more newspapers, and more gas stations, for example. The team, led by Lav Varshney, assistant professor at University of Illinois, wanted to investigate this sociological phenomena when it came to social media platforms, particularly tweeting behaviour on Twitter.
Previous results on telephony (the study of telecommunication) suggested there should be more tweeting per capita in larger cities than in smaller. Surprisingly, in the study published in the journal SAGE Open the researchers found the opposite. “After calculating tweet volumes from 50 American cities of varying sizes, we found there was less tweeting per capita in larger cities,” said Varshney.
The interesting component with tweeting behaviour, according to the researchers, is that they could not only look at the aggregate data of the city, but also dig into tweeting on an individual level. “We found that a small number of people in cities were tweeting a lot more than the average. In cities, lots of people were not tweeting at all,” said Varshney. “What we determined is that a small number of people are tweeting and carrying information throughout the city,” Varshney said.
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