Since the Seahawks beat the 49ers on January 19th, team spirit has gone wild. "I'm in" signs taped to every window. "12" banners flapping from every flagpole. Social media accounts flooded with #12thman and #seahawks hashtags.
Like many strange, mysterious phenomena (radiation, ghosts, rain), this burst of fan support is not uniform. Some neighborhoods seem more passionate than others. Thankfully, this fan fervor can be measured. So, we set out to see which parts of the region love the home team most.
Our (admittedly unscientific) method
(If you don't care about this part, feel free to scroll down to the maps.)
Every time someone tweets with a GPS-enabled smartphone, they have the option to send their latitude and longitude along with those 140 characters. Once posted, this positional data is available not just to the NSA, but also to app makers who can locate those tweets on a map, sorting them by keyword, hashtag or user. Inquiring minds like ours can then use this information to track tweets using the #seahawks hashtag.
Of course, not all Seahawks fans tweet, and many tweets are not geo-located. The imperfections of free online tweet-mapping tools only add to our problem: We can't compare the Seahawks' twitter buzz (by location) before and after their NFC championship win. However, we can hypothesize that the number of geolocated tweets in an area is representative of larger trends in Twitter activity.
Our first few maps are from TweetMap Alpha, a Harvard-MIT data mapping collaboration that captured tweets between December 2nd & 26th. Every blue dot is a geolocated tweet that used the #seahawks hashtag. Back in December, the bandwagon still had a few seats left, so this map doesn't reflect the fervor of the last few weeks. Still, it does provide a good picture of where the true Seahawks fans reside — or at least where they tweet from.
No surprises here: Seahawks tweets are focused in places where there are a lot of people. Trees and scrublands do not fans make.
Zooming in on Puget Sound, some details emerge. The Seahawks were on the minds of Twitter users across the region in December. The airport? Solid blue. Perhaps it was all those out-of-towners arriving to watch their teams lose to the Hawks. (Unless they were from Arizona...).
The more we zoom in, the more the real nuances come out. Belltown, Downtown and Pioneer Square are the clear winners here, although fans on Capitol Hill, Lower Queen Anne, Northgate and downtown Bellevue did their share of tweeting. Even the Rainier Valley has a foot in the game. One thing is clear: Magnolia is not a team player.
The rest of our maps come from Bing Twitter Maps. This system only shows a sample of tweets (about 50-75) within the map. The data comes from the days surrounding the Seahawks’ big win over the 49ers. This map captures the parts of various neighborhoods that demonstrated the most #Seahawks enthusiasm.
We expected a lot of tweet action around CenturyLink Field (the pin on the stadium expands to 8 tweets, and that's just a sample). But the surprise here is that the volume of tweeting along Fourth and Fifth avenues. Those workers in downtown skyscrapers really do love their Seahawks, and they tweet about it — only during official breaks from work, of course. Overall, there were more than 22,000 tweets about the Seahawks within this downtown area, more than in any other neighborhood.
Uptown, Belltown, South Lake Union
If you’re looking for a place to celebrate the home team, don’t waste your time among the trendy food trucks of South Lake Union or the green lawns of Seattle Center. Go to Third and Battery in Belltown.
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