BC - The Observable Universe

John Bingham-Hall is a locally-based PHD student studying the impact of hyperlocal communities like this one. He put his findings into a fancy powerpoint and managed to wangle himself a nice trip to LA to present it - BC wishes we'd thought of that.

Anyway, his work is very interesting and part of his focus is on our Twitter community (at time of writing approximately 7,100 people strong) and he's written about some of his findings here.

We think what he is saying is that the family that Tweets together also tends to hang out together - that the clusters of online influencers tend to mirror the physical clusters. And that for the most part, local businesses play a key role in building virtual communities as well as physical ones.
He writes:

We created a network map of following relationships between all of Brockley Central’s followers. We found that a few local big players like businesses and journalists dominate the Twitter scene while the vast majority of individual residents have very few followers within the local network. 

Using network software Gephi we analysed the network to see how it naturally concentrates into clusters of following that in network science terms are thought of as modularity classes or “communities”. For the 300 most connected profiles in Brockley Central’s network we assigned them a latitude and longitude wherever possible, for example for businesses that have a specific location. Once we added in the community cluster data (as separate colours) and the number of connections (as size) for each location we saw some interesting results. 

The network communities, which as a reminder are determined purely as concentrations of interconnection on Twitter, were also geographic communities concentrated in places like Deptford & New Cross, and Peckham & Nunhead. Furthermore the profiles along Brockley Road (in pink) tended to be the most popular ones, presumably as they are the most visible in Brockley’s focal public spaces (except for local Twitter behemoths Brockley Market).