Andrés Monroy-Hernández
Social media expert Andrés Monroy-Hernández created a map of Seattle (including West Seattle) filled with popular Twitter terms that came up over a two month period.

Can West Seattle be explained by Twitter terms?

Social media expert and Microsoft researcher Andrés Monroy-Hernández recently created an interesting map of Seattle, filling the landmass of each unique neighborhood with Twitter words that commonly arose in those areas over a two-month period.

Twitter, for those who haven’t jumped into the fray, is a social networking service where users send and receive 140-character “tweets” (for example, you can follow the West Seattle Herald on Twitter at @westseattleher for links to new stories, photos and more). At its worst, Twitter is a platform for celebrities to tell us what they ate for breakfast. At its best, it is a great way to funnel information you find interesting into one place, with links to more details if you are so inclined.

While Twitter is largely used by media outlets to share their news and businesses to promote their happenings, a growing number of everyday people are using the platform to connect and comment.

Monroy-Hernández, in an interview with GeekWire, said he came up with the idea as a way to create “data-driven art.” Words that made the map were those that showed up most often in a given neighborhood over two months. The more common the word, the larger the font on the map.

Generally, the most voracious tweeters are those pumping out news, the Seattle Police Department’s automated Tweets by Beat program (sending out crime and public safety calls for the different sectors of our peninsula), and businesses doing their marketing thing.

Large versions of the map are available here.

In West Seattle (split into three sections in the Twitter map as basically everything west of 35th Ave S.W., the general Delridge area, and South Park up to Harbor Island along the Duwamish), the most common words were apparently “free” and “new.” As one commenter put it on the Geekwire story, “Those keywords need context to make sense. I assume FREE in West Seattle is because of the battle over free parking spaces being chewed up by fees lately? There ain’t anything else free in West Seattle.”

Down a notch in prominence are a slew of newsy, crime-related words like “suspects,” “burglary” and “shoplift.” We have our fair share of property crime to be sure.

“Bridge” and “rapidride” made the list as a possible reflection of the daily reality that is commuting in and out of West Seattle.

“Admiral” and “Junction” make an appearance ... representing retail hotspots?

Several mundane terms made the map (“property” and “stuff” come to mind), along with a few eye-catchers like “sexuality,” “bono,” “giving,” “liquor” and “soul.”

So the question becomes: How well do words that show up often in Twitterville reflect the culture and interests of West Seattle? Let us know your take in the comment section!

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