Many believe that social media data has the potential to give real insights into communities. However, there is a real challenge in unlocking this knowledge due to the enormous size and speed with which the data is generated, and a lack of understanding of issues such as ethics and the validity of conclusions drawn from the skewed sample of the population that social media users represent.

Tweet My Street is tackling these problems with the overall goal of understanding how the knowledge gained can benefit socially excluded communities. It is a multidisciplinary collaboration involving social geographers, computer scientists and statisticians, which aims to:

  • design a scalable system for social media data analysis
  • create a tool that makes it easy for social scientists to ask questions and visualise results
  • explore the use of modern statistical techniques to derive understanding from the data
  • drive and evaluate the system through case studies, including the use of the new tools to augment existing social science methods, and to understand the way third sector organisations can make effective use of social media
  • explore how the use of the tools can help the private and public sector to make key decisions.