By Eric Fischer on August 20 2014

The protests and militarized police response have unfolded in real time on Twitter over the last ten days since police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th. Thousands of the #Ferguson tweets were geotagged with location data and Chris and I wanted to see what we could learn from those locations. In particular, we wanted to see if there was any difference between tweets from locals and those from people who traveled to Ferguson to participate in or report on the protests.

Tweets from West Florissant Avenue

To distinguish between locals and visitors, we compared geotagged tweets in Ferguson with previous tweets from the same people. Locals who had most recently tweeted within seven miles are displayed in green, and tweets from people who had come from further away in purple.

Clusters of tweets from both groups are densest along the few key blocks of West Florissant Avenue, from the Quik Trip convenience store at the north end to the McDonald’s at the south. Local people seem to have tweeted more from those endpoints, while people visiting were more likely to tweet from locations in between. Other clusters of tweets include the Target store in the south, police and fire department headquarters, and the apartment complex where Brown was killed.

On the map we built you can choose between seeing #Ferguson tweets from locals, visitors, or both over the last few days.

The lines on the opening map represent travel between previous and current tweet locations from people tweeting about Ferguson, showing the convergence into the area.

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