The geography and importance of localness in geotagged social media

Isaac L. Johnson, Subhasree Sengupta, Johannes Schöning, Brent Hecht

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Geotagged tweets and other forms of social media volunteered geographic information (VGI) are becoming increasingly critical to many applications and scientific studies. An important assumption underlying much of this research is that social media VGI is "local", or that its geotags correspond closely with the general home locations of its contributors. We demonstrate through a study on three separate social media communities (Twitter, Flickr, Swarm) that this localness assumption holds in only about 75% of cases. In addition, we show that the geographic contours of localness follow important sociodemographic trends, with social media in, for instance, rural areas and older areas, being substantially less local in character (when controlling for other demographics). We demonstrate through a case study that failure to account for non-local social media VGI can lead to misrepresentative results in social media VGI-based studies. Finally, we compare the methods for determining localness, finding substantial disagreement in certain cases, and highlight new best practices for social media VGI-based studies and systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2016 - Proceedings, 34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages515-526
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450333627
DOIs
StatePublished - May 7 2016
Event34th Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016 - San Jose, United States
Duration: May 7 2016May 12 2016

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Other

Other34th Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2016
CountryUnited States
CitySan Jose
Period5/7/165/12/16

Keywords

  • Geotagged social media
  • Localness
  • User-generated content
  • Volunteered geographic information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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