Does Mobile OS of Geotagged Tweets Reveal Lines Between Rich and Poor in St. Louis?

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We previously posted a map showing the location of geotagged photos by locals and tourists in the St. Louis area. Now MapBox has produced something a little more fine-grained, geotagged Tweets by mobile phone operating system. These are always fun to look and an explore, and as with the photos, one can easily find landmarks such as the Arch, The Loop, Busch Stadium, The Muny and other popular destinations. But the creators go a little further this time, stating:

Mobile Devices is a map that reveals the information about phone brands that is stored when people use an official Twitter App and is hidden in the metadata attached to each tweet. Each brand of phone is a different color and can be independently toggled. The patterns of usage in each city often reflect economic stratification. For example iPhones, in red, are predominantly in wealthy sections of the city while Android phones, in green, have more coverage in poorer sections. On a global level, national trends reveal a complicated set of cultural preferences.

At a quick glance, this would appear to be less true in St. Louis than some places. There are bright red areas, to be sure, but the red drowns out the green, and the dispersion of the colors seems rather uniform. It is clear though that Android dominates Tweets from north city and north county, but Ladue Tweeters appear relatively happy with their Android phones as well. What do you see?


{click on image above to visit MapBox Mobile Devices interactive website}

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  • Brian

    There are so many caveats to this data that I’m not sure it shows much of anything.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Yes.

    • Sam Snelling

      Exactly. Android has great market share but it’s very different from iOS. Many android devices are feature phones, which are going to be more popular in lower income areas than something like the Galaxy S4 or the HTC One, which have more in common with the iPhone. Without that type of data included that racial and/or income divide is unknowable.

  • marigolds6

    Another factor here is that geotagging of tweets is opt-in. Only a very small percentage of tweets are geotagged; and so geotagging represents both a willingness to reveal your location and a technical savvy to know how to reveal your location.

    Notice how few tweets are Blackberry despite a widespread adoption of Blackberry phones in the legal and business community here? Blackberry is actually easier to geotag than other phones; you are given an opportunity to turn on geotagging when you first install the twitter application. Perhaps this is a sign that Blackberry users are much more likely to resist sharing their location.

    I am not sure how this influences the pattern between iPhone and Android users, but it certainly may be a contributor to the relative lack of geotagged tweets of any type between Olive Blvd and Manchester Rd east of I-170.

    • Sam Snelling

      Also, people are more likely to geotag their tweets while they are out and about than when they are at home.

  • Jay Dubya

    One of the more interesting correlations is the relationship of iPhone and Android Tweets by race. It appears whites are more likely to Tweet with an iPhone. Also, note the large build up of iPhone Tweets in college areas (UMSL, SLU, Mizzou, SIUE, Lindenwood, U of I, IL State). It appears college age people tend to Tweet using an iPhone by a large margin.

  • Daniel

    Apparently a hell of a lot of people are using Twitter while driving. Scary.

    • Alex Ihnen

      We’ll keep our fingers crossed that they’re passengers. :/

  • Presbyterian

    1. This could be a footnote in a Richard Florida book. Criticize him if you will, but the red zone is the creative class. This is where the culture makers live, work and play.

    2. It’s the entire Central Corridor from the Arch to the Galleria, plus the historic south side, UMSL, the hospitals at 170 and 40, downtown Kirkwood.

    3. Note that people in Ladue evidently don’t tweet. I’m guessing they mainly pay the creative class to tweet for them… something they evidently do off-site.

    4. And I’m guessing Sauget is where the creative class is when their wives think they’re out with the guys.

    • marigolds6

      3) People in Ladue probably do not geotag their tweets, especially when they are at home.
      4) Or it could be that a single worker at the Penthouse Club owns an iPhone and tweets constantly at work with geotagged tweets.

  • TimTom

    The most shocking thing about this was people still use Blackberrys

    • Don

      Not very many in St Louis, but look at the Chicago loop! Wow.

  • loganalexander

    That red is very dominant. iPhone/Android use is pretty even in the US (http://techland.time.com/2013/04/16/ios-vs-android/), but you’d be hard pressed to tell from this map: http://cl.ly/image/3L2D382M3m1J Too bad we can’t swap the colors.

  • Don

    The iPhone hotspot in Sauget seems interesting.

  • Don

    Cool, I just found my iPhone on the map.

  • pat

    Its people in their mid twenties at bars.