Twitter in the city
The goal is to get a better sense of how people use their social networks during emergencies. Another way the team is looking at this question is through Twitter. Yu-Ru Lin, an assistant research professor on the team, created a great interactive Google map that shows all of the Tweets using fear-related words that came out of Boston on April 15, 2013. While people were apparently a little on edge all day — 26.2 miles will do that to you — there’s a very obvious spike at 2:49pm, when the first bomb went off. In the visualization below, you see the whole city light up with red dots, representing those fearful Tweets:
Here’s a static representation of the tweets, showing that clear spike right when the bombs go off:
If you’re interested in participating in Lazer’s Android project, you can learn more about the project on his website, VolunteerScience, which is a new platform his team developed to investigate these kinds of questions more readily. Also, it’s worth noting that the team will donate $3 to One Fund Boston for every person that participates.