But those who do tweet in big cities are more prolific—tweeting more often, on average, than their small-town counterparts. Christopher Intagliata reports.
Walking in New York City is almost a competitive sport. <<Midnight Cowboy clip: "Hey! I'm walkin here.">> And people in cities really do walk faster than their country counterparts—2.8 feet per second faster, according to a worldwide study in the 1970s. But that speedier pace of life extends to other aspects of city living, too.
"There's more inventions per capita in large cities, there's more mobile telephony usage in large cities." Lav Varshney, an information theorist at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.
He says you might expect Twitter use to increase in larger cities, too. But after analyzing two and a half million tweets, from 50 U.S. cities, his team concluded the opposite is true: There's actually less tweeting per capita as population rises.
But those who do tweet in big cities are more prolific—tweeting more often, on average, than their small-town counterparts. "And so what we discovered is that there's a core of people we call "town tweeters" that seem to emerge. And those people are actually tweeting a lot. And then everyone else is not tweeting very much in large cities. So those "town tweeters" are actually serving as an information broadcast infrastructure."
Their analysis is in the journal SAGE Open. [Alexander Jones Gross, Dhiraj Murthy, Lav R. Varshney, Pace of Life in Cities and the Emergence of Town Tweeters]
Of course the faster pace of life in big cities also means that these days, lots of people text and tweet while they're walking. In a 2018 remake of Midnight Cowboy, maybe a more accurate line for Ratso Rizzo would be…, "Hey! I'm tweetin' here!"
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]