Liveability of Amsterdam ; the narrative that twitter data constructs of Amsterdam

July 2014

heatmapThe Digital Methods Summer School, hosted by the University of Amsterdam took place from June 23 until July 4 2014.  DMI seeks to learn from the methods built into the devices online, by subtracting the data (links, tags, threads, etc) and repurposing them for social and cultural research. In this summer school ‘on geolocation’ the focal point was to analyse events as they unfold, by subtracting geo-located embedded data.  

The first weeks’ project I participated in a team in which we explored how twitter data constructs a narrative of the city of Amsterdam, by analysing the way people (locals and tourists) tweet about the city. Two data sets (geo-tagged data of Amsterdam and keywords about Amsterdam) of one month were used. Some of the findings: the most frequently used words to describe Amsterdam in Chinese were: creative, incredible and confused. A sudden peek of the word #zwerfie (a selfie taken while picking up trash) emerged in a neighbourhood in the west, during the three day strike of garbage services in the city. As for the transportation, some individuals always tweet on the same spot while others commuting. Bus 300 had the most active tweeter. In general the bus or tram stops are more frequently used for tweeting than in the trams or buses. The problems we encountered while doing the research is a methodological gap between keyword and geolocation-data analyses and the need to obtain more qualitative data.