Small Thoughts

Lift Off #5 – Social Media Mapping

Podcast Notes:

One of the beautiful uses of social media is plotting posts on a map and observing geographic trends.

Some examples:

  • – Jakarta goes through serious flooding every year in monsoon season. PetaJakarta has launched an application that monitors Twitter for @petajkt and #banjir. Citizens of Jakarta can take pictures of flooded areas, tweet them, tag their location or enable location tracking, and PetaJakarta will plot their tweet on a map of Jakarta. This allows rescue operations to see a live map of developing flood emergencies.
  • Syria has been in upheaval for three years now. Getting aid to stricken areas has been troublesome because of the fighting. One group in Atlanta has been tracking tweets from Syrians about the conflict and is mapping it out. Now humanitarian aide can see, in real time, what areas to avoid and what areas are now free to bring aid to.

In North America social media mapping could be used during protests, to help disaster responders in mass emergencies, to track wild animal sightings, map power outages (as long as power to cell towers is still intact), or track tornado/dangerous weather patterns.

Any time there is a moment that thousands of people are experiencing together, and the effects are far reaching, social media could conceivably be used to map out the experience. You have to be careful in criminal investigations, though. Like the shooting in Moncton, New Brunswick. People tweeting when they saw police or the gunman only helped the gunman stay elusive.

Think about your business. Do you have a lot of sales-people on the road? Have them tweet about their interactions with customers (with discretion) and map out the sentiment towards your product and company. Do you sell outdoor gear? Track your customers and see where in the world your products are being used.


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