You’re Tweeting from Where?

One of the challenges in assessing Twitter-Land is getting an accurate picture of where users are located.

Right now, location is mostly determined by the information that people provide within their profiles. There are a few issues:

1. Not everyone provides their location information

2. Some people provide wrong information. For example, many users change their location to Tehran to support the political activists in Iran.

3. It can be difficult to assess location information if it’s written in non-English languages such as Arabic, Chinese and Japanese.

So, it’s exciting – if you’re into geography and geoloation – that Twitter is going to be introduce a new API that will lets developers add latitude and longitude to any update. In a blog post, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said:

“Folks will need to activate this new feature by choice because it will be off by default and the exact location data won’t be stored for an extended period of time. However, if people do opt-in to sharing location on a tweet-by-tweet basis, compelling context will be added to each burst of information.”

If and when the new API gains traction – and users opt-in to having their locations made available – it will provide a much more accurate and interesting view of how and where Twitter is being used around the world.

For more thoughts, check out Fast Company’s blog on what Twitter could do with your location information, and Mashable’s list of five geolocation features it wants.

Here’s a chart from our Inside Twitter report that shows the countries where Twitter is being used the most. In future reports, we plan on providing more details about countries and cities.


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