Humboldt State University Students Create Map That Tracks Racial Language On Twitter

For all of the good that social media provides us (instant news, intimate discussion from various people with divergent backgrounds, etc.) there are tons of negative.  One of the unfortunate developments of social media is that people seem to forget that’s, basically, it’s a public forum. Especially Twitter, where it seems the concept of over-sharing is lost on the majority of the people on the site.

When people tweet freely, they often reveal a lot about their personal character and even racial bias. Humboldt State University created a map for a class called Advanced Cartography where they can track racial language used on Twitter across the nation

A fascinating study that really illustrates how pervasive racial thoughts are and where the hot spots are located.


Read more at Clutch:

The students compiled a map of hate speech on Twitter for a project called the “Geography of Hate.”

The map used 150,000 tweets sent from June 2012 through April 2013 to determine its findings, but this data sample was chosen by humans rather than algorithms and machines. That specific decision cuts down on selecting data samples that don’t fit the needs of the experiment.

The students read through geocoded (location-tapped) tweets and selected those that contained hate words. These words were then filtered into three categories: positive, negative or neutral. Negative tweets are the only ones appearing on the map.

Some of the findings from the “Geography of Hate” map include:

  • Southerners tweet more bigotry than Northerners, but the n-word appears throughout the United States. Southern California is the only location immune from hateful uses of the n-word.
  • The term “wetback” is used most often in Texas than anywhere else in the United States.
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