Geographies of online social interaction: a big data analytics approach to social media platform Sina Weibo

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Wang, Chaowen
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : Universtiy of Lethbridge, Department of Geography
Social media has revolutionized many aspects of people’s social life. However, few studies have utilized massive individual-level data from social media to examine the effects of geography. In this study a program was developed to collect and analyze data from Sina Weibo in ten selected Chinese cities. Four geographic concepts, i.e., borders, distance, places, and urban system hierarchy were chosen to measure the geographic effects by investigating geographical distribution of people’s connections and comparing tweets similarity between different cities. The results show that these geographic concepts are playing an important role in the formation of new online connections and shaping people’s interests. Social media users still tend to establish connections and share more common interests with people who live in the same city or close to them. People who live in the first-tier cities have more opportunities to establish connections across the country and their interests cover a broader range.
social media , Sina Weibo , similarity , borders , places , distance , urban hierarchy , Social media -- Research , Mocroblogs -- Research , Online social networks , Big data , Geography -- Network analysis , Social media -- Research -- China , Microblogs -- Research -- China