The #Socialography video is only a fractional representation of how geography and social media relate. Social media connects to environmental geography, political geography, social geography and economic geography and even sub sections of geography within that such as migration, pollution and demographics. Here are some interesting ways we can connect social media to geography, changing the way people and places are merged, formed and viewed. Social media is part of globalisation that has allowed the places and people to be better connected without having to be physically proportionate to each other.
In a report from January 2015, world disparities was analysed by Microsoft. What we can understand from this is that social media and the internet have different values to different people across the globe. This means peoples lives are affected in different ways by social media and technology which is important to consider from both a geographical and social perspective. Social media is now dominating globally, with LinkedIn notably having a reach of 200 countries and territories.
- Internet privacy is a world issue.
- 60% of people surveyed in developing nations believe that personal technology and social media has improved social bonds.
- Only 36% percent of respondents in the West think it has improves social bonds.
- Social media is where developing nations go to gather news changing how they live and understand countries and people around them.
A Global View of Digital, Social and Mobile in 2015:
As stated in the video, there are 2.08 BILLION active social media accounts globally! This information was found by We Are Social’s digital, social and mobile report. They have provided us with fascinating statistics on world wide social media usage, and we can see a global digital snapshot in numbers here:
- A total population of 7.2 BILLION
- 3.6 BILLION unique mobile users with a penetration of 51%.
- 2.08 BILLION active social media accounts, penetration of 29%.
Mobile, internet and social media use by country. This shows which area of the globe is most active, and has the largest amount of social media users and mobile users. Population has an affect on how many people are using social media and so does access to technology.
- East Asia owns 27% of global social media use being the largest percentage in the world.
- East Asia also has the largest amount of mobile connections at 22%.
- West Europe only has 11% share of global social media users.
The Geography of Twitter:
It has been said that Twitter is shifting the social communicative landscape of the world (after all, twitter has 302 million users per month). This is because geographic proximity is found to play a minimal role both in whom users communicate with and what they communicate about. This was found in a study where some researches attempted to map global emotion expressed on twitter in real time. What they wanted to find out was where people were tweeting from, when they were tweeting and if people were engaging in activities in the same area or spread across the globe.
They also noted the linguistic geography of Twitter by mapping tweets by language. What these studies show are that Twitter is just another place where geography can be represented. we can find out where Twitter is most popular, what kinds of people are using Twitter and how people communicate all through geographical analysis and exploration. Social geography is exemplified brilliantly in this study.
Social media can now even have an affect on climate change and environmental issues around the globe. It has been that that social media has the potential to help with air pollution problems in Chinese cities. Social media was said to be a ‘liberation technology’ that can encourage more open policy debates as people are given a voice and an opportunity to express that voice and opinion through social media. China has 590,000,000 internet users and they all have the opportunity to engage on social media and let their voice be heard.
A case study was undertaken by Samuel Kay to investigate Chinese air pollution and social media. Some key data and statistics:
- 2008: Announce plan for Beijing to install an air quality monitor on its rooftop and publish real-time readings on Twitter every hour.
- Data released on the Twitter feed conflicted with official Beijing data, causing undesirable ‘social consequences’ among the Chinese public.
- Social media has the ability to act as a stand in for democratic progress.
- Chinese state has the ability to shape the social media debate over air pollution or any other topic.
- Overall, social media allowed users to express opinions to government over pollution measures and actions but was not completely affective.
Of course a huge part of geography is politics. So the current UK general election is important to geography as it affects the way both humans and places interact. You could call this socio – political geography. Social media has once again been involved with political geography as political parties take to social media to advertise, persuade and make their voices heard. People are also discussing the election on social media perhaps giving an indication of who will come out on top.
We can tell who may win according to social media activity and what regions are tweeting about which political party. We can tell what is important to people around the UK. Social media and geography once again come together to produce some interesting results.
The top priorities of social media users are:
Interest on social media by regional location:
- Labour have the mentions in Scotland and London on social media
- SNP have the most mentions on social in Scotland.
- Conservative in London and Scotland.
- London and Scotland most active on social
- North – East and Northern Ireland have the least activity of mentions.
Demographics are an important sub section of geography as they help us to understand population, employment, culture and social behaviours. This is why it is interesting that that are 31 million more females than males on social globally. It is also interesting that 90% of Pinterest users are female and males dominate LinkedIn. This perhaps allows us to understand how social and cultural norms can explain social media activity. This is a huge part of social geography.
In 2014, 92% of all pins were made my women discovered by RJ Metrics.
When linking this to politics, it can be interesting to see the gender divide on politics in social media. Women’s pay, voting and career options are all essential to understanding and learning social geography.
Brandwatch and BBC found that 73% of men were tweeting about the election compared to only 27% of women. Social media gives us the ability to access this kind of data which is important when understanding regional demographic disparities and comparisons.
Another study concluded that social media can influence migration patterns. Social media can influence and determine destination attractiveness resulting in certain migration patterns, especially for university students who are choosing to study in certain places abroad.
The study used:
- An Elaboration Likelihood Model to determine the effectiveness of social media material
- An Information Adoption Model to simplify the determining parts of the persuasion process.
Overall they concluded that social media has a huge impact on migration patterns. This can further question if social media and its persuasion techniques can entice people in less economically developed countries to migrate to the west both legally and illegally, especially as in places such as India where they have 72 million social media users accessing social media from a mobile device.
They have simple and easy access to the pull of social media’s power which can be seen as attractive especially in comparison to places such as the slums of Dharavi. In 2010, it was reported by the United Nations University that people in India have better access to a mobile phone than clean sanitation and toilets, according to UN experts. The goal was to improve sanitation by 50% in 2015 due to this shocking statistic.
Geography, migration and therefore population demographics are all linked as one affects the other and indirectly can cause population change.
Social media and economic geography are closely linked. Approximately, the average cost of cybercrime in the US = $12.69 million, this includes social media crime. Account hacks and privacy issues all contribute to cybercrime costs. Social media and technology have caused a sharp dent in the economy increasing costs and expenses within the social media and technology industries.
Social media advertising revenue will grow to 9.8 billion in 2016.
As well as this Deloitte have released a study on how Facebook impacts the global economy. Some of the main statistics are:
- Facebook enabled $227 billion of economic impact in 2014
- Facebook created 4.5 million jobs globally in 2014
- The purchases of mobile devices and connectivity services motivated by Facebook contributed an estimated $50 billion of economic impact
Overall, #Socialography aims to show people how geography, social media and the internet connect to one another. This article goes into a bit more detail about how social media and geography are closely involved and it is clear that social media really has an affect on a lot of aspects of our every day lives.
Social media impacts the world environmentally, economically, politically and socially. It is much larger than just the internet, it can physically change place, space and people. People need to realise both the positive and negative impacts it can cause and how it has allowed for so much technological development that never existed several years ago.
We are now a social generation that communicate, live and breathe social and for that I am thankful. This means we can understand the world we live in and the people that live within it. We can improve lives, businesses and the world around us with the help of social. We can see this solely through the figures provided in the #Socialography video, which emphasises just how many people around the world, even those in developing countries use social media or engage with it in some way.