Contextual analysis of tweets made during London riots

We have published a short whitepaper that analyses the tweets made over the weekend of the 6-8th August.  The tweets downloaded were filtered simply on having either the word ‘riot’ or ‘rebroadcast’, since this was one of the words used by the gangs to encourage other gang members to congregate at a particular site.

The analysis can be seen at our whitepapers section, and the results appear to indicate that in the majority of cases, mentions of specific placenames that were being targeted by the gangs were in fact being discussed on twitter some hours before the main attacks took place.  Analysis of the tweets themselves appears to show a mix of people voicing their displeasure at hearing of the proposed riots in their town or community and those actively encouraging it.  This shows that people were actively involved in trying to prevent the riots from happening, and the demographic of those tweeting against the riots is likely initially to be similar to those actively participating, since they are the first to hear about the rumours of the riots taking place – whether through the Blackberry messaging service or word of mouth.

Our analysis is possible since we can simply search in context with the word ‘next’ – as in what is the next target, or the next place to hit?  It is possible that other words could be used to identify other targets, and we will make available in the coming days some of the analysis so that you can search the data yourself, and see what placenames come up using the search words you would prefer to use.

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