Hurricane Sandy Through the Eyes (Mouth?) of Twitter

By vitamin

Hurricane SandyHurricane Sandy recently hit the East Coast and New York City and the New Jersey Coast are both still suffering its impact. Because of direct involvement in the storm and social media savvy inhabitants, there is an interesting record of the hurricane in the Twittersphere. Floating Sheep created this map, which shows the location and frequency of geo-tagged tweets from the NYC area that were registered in the days prior to, and following, the hurricane.

The map shows that most activity stemmed from Manhattan, the most densely populated borough, the one that suffered massive power outages. Interestingly, the data seems to indicate that areas with the most tweets are not the areas most impacted by the storm. For example, areas that were heavily affected by the hurricane, such as Coney Island and Rockaway, show relatively little activity, most likely because people in these areas were focused on survival rather than tweeting.

Could virtual maps like this one play a role in targeting areas for relief assistance in real time? How might you use social media to combat the effects of a natural disaster?

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