A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Tweets

This is a visual representation of the Moscow metro bombing discussion on Twitter. It is a word cloud of 1000 random tweets from the #moscow hashtag (which saw a five fold increase after the bombings) based on research we’re doing with the Sam Gilbert and the Web Ecology Project. We are still working through #metro29 and other hashtags that were more popular among Russian language Twitter users. Turns out it’s pretty hard to say anything too original in 140 characters.

And for comparison, here’s a word cloud representing the discussion on the bombings in the US and Russian press, drawn from the full text of 68 articles related to the bombing from Johnson’s Russia List. Both clouds were created with Wordle.

This is intended mostly as a fun experiment as we build more accurate tools to make these type of inter platform comparisons, but it is still pretty striking to see how limiting Twitter can be when trying to tell a story. In any case, it is still far better than Russian TV news.

Update: I replaced an earlier Twitter cloud to strip out the date, which I think was a cut and paste error on my part, since that doesn’t appear in the text of the Tweets.