Putting Your Twitter Followers on the Map, Literally | Beth’s Blog

Putting Your Twitter Followers on the Map, Literally

Tools and Tactics, Visual

TweepsMap is an interesting Twitter app that will put your followers on a map of the world, literally.   It analyzes the percentage of total followers from countries, states, and cities. (here’s more about how it works)    While you can check out the profiles of your followers and find out where they’re from (if they filled out the location information), you can’t really get a snapshot.   When I analyzed my followers, I discovered that 60% were from outside the US (compared to 70% on Facebook)

So, I started to dig down and review the information country by country, continent by continent.  I shared the screen captures on my Facebook page.   Cindy Leonard asked a great question:  How come you don’t have any followers in Washington state?

I made a mistake, I didn’t give my data the sniff test before sharing it.     That’s some great advice from KD Paine for the last chapter of our forthcoming book,  ”Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,” which is on data analysis and turning data in action.     So, look at every chart, every graph, every number and ask does it make sense.

So I asked on Twitter if there was anyone out there from Washington state – and a number of them responded back.     So, it looks like there is a glitch.    My colleague, Zan Mccolloch-Lussier, from Washington state suggested that the problem might be that is confuses Washington, DC with Washington state.

Despite a few glitches,  you use this tool to see if your audience is local or global.    What did you discover by putting your Twitter followers on the map?

 

 

 

10 Responses

  1. Heather says:

    this kind of data while directionally interesting can’t be accurate because it relies on the user self-selecting to provide you with their location. All Twitter users don’t put a location in their bio, nor do they turn on gps location for their tweets. If you look at this kind of data over time California and New York always look statistically hotter on a heat map because of the way Twitter presents the results. I agree though about using it to see some sort of overall trend regarding whether you have more following inside or outside of the US.

  2. Samir says:

    Hi Beth,
    Thanks for the write up.
    Tweepsmap can only analyze up to 35000 of your followers.
    If you have more than that it will use sampling to give you your map. So the results are less accurate in that case. this limitation is imposed by Twitter on how many times we can use their API in one hour. So to get the full results of your Tweepsmap we need to run your profile overnight. We will fire up the service to compute yours tonight.(like we have done for Mashable for example)

    In the live version it is supposed to show you a message that since you are a “Super Tweep” your results used sampling and to get your full result you need to get in touch with us. Just curious if you did not get that message?

    Cheers
    Samir

  3. Samir says:

    Hi Heather,
    You are right! Our tests have shown that 10-30% of Twitter users don’t enter accurate location info in their bios. Usually professional accounts tend to have their bios filled out more than personal ones, so your milage may vary depending on the type of followers you have.
    Tweepsmap is not meant to tell you with 100% accuracy if you have followers in a certain city or state, but rather give you a global picture of where your audience is mostly concentrated, so you can adjust your message to give more relevent Tweets to their location, adjust your campaign to gain more targeted followers in the regions you are interested in or even adjust the time you Tweet at (if your followers don’t live in the same timezone as you)

    Thanks for the feedback.
    Cheers,

  4. Maggie says:

    Thanks for sharing this great resource! I’m looking forward to mapping my own Twitter followers and I also appreciate your prudent reminder that we should always review any tool we’re using and remember that online/digital tools make mistakes too.

  5. Samir says:

    Hi Beth,
    As promised. Your full Tweepsmap was calculated.
    http://tweepsmap.com/!kanter

    Also thanks for pointing out the Washington State glitch, after investigation it turned out that it was actually computed correctly (You would have found it in the chart or list view) but the pin for the state was misplaced on the map, and Zan is right… the map was interpreting it as Washington DC. The problem has been corrected now, so the pin shows in the right place on the map.

    Thanks again for the write up, and feel free to drop me a line if you have any more questions or comments.
    Cheers

  6. Jay Geneske says:

    I just ran my organization, Echoing Green, through the search. We got a prompting that our results (like yours) were a sampling, since we have over 350,000 followers. I always take third-party analytics with a grain of salt, especially with Twitter. The results for me confirmed that our audience is also 60% international, which is similar to what I see for our Facebook and website audience. This certainly reconfirms our ongoing attempts to incorporate international audiences (time of day, language/culture differences, etc.). Stateside, I was interested to see a larger concentration in California than I expected.

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