If you ever wondered which countries are the busiest on Twitter, you're in luck. Researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford has created a visualisation showing where the world's tweets originate from.
The researchers first decided to collect all georeferenced tweets sent between March 5th and March 13th. As georeferenced tweets make up fewer than 1% of all tweets sent, they then took a random 20% sample of these tweets, giving the researchers approximately 4.5 million tweets to work with.
The end results are represented in the graphic shown above. In terms of information, the U.S. is the largest country followed by Brazil, Indonesia, the UK, Mexico and Malaysia. It's interesting to note that while Brazil is the second largest country, its ratio of tweets to internet users is higher there than in the U.S., suggesting that Brazilian users are more engaged with the site than their American counterparts.
Malaysia and Kuwait also has a high percentage of internet users tweeting, while the U.S., Chile, Mexico, Ireland, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, and Indonesia had a medium percentage of internet users tweeting. Focusing on the breakdown of countries and wheere, the researchers write:
"By mapping the distribution of tweets in the world it becomes apparent that Twitter is allowing for broader participation than is possible in most other platforms and media. In other words, it might be allowing for a 'democratisation' of information production and sharing because of its low barriers to entry and adaptability to mobile devices. Similarly barriers to the dissemination of information, such as censorship, are also visible through the small proportion of tweets originating in China (home to the largest population of internet users in the world)."
There are limitations to this study which the researchers acknowledge. For one, it's possible that certain countries would be more inclined to georeference tweets than others so there could be a bais towards certain countries if this is the case. Also it's a very small sample so it's not conclusive enough to take any hard data from, especially since the remaining 80% of georeferenced tweets could present completely different results. Still, it's an interesting breakdown of information and gives you an idea about which parts of the world are engaged with the micro blogging platform. A larger version of the Twitter visualisation can be found here.