In the hours after Steve Jobs’ passing, researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute tried to track the spread of memorial tweets spreading through the internet. Their computers were overwhelmed.
Rather than focusing on network dynamics, they decided to analyze the tributes by language. Jobs wasn’t just an American visionary, but truly global.
Above is a breakdown of two million tweets containing the name “Steve Jobs” and posted between 9 pm on Oct. 5 and 9 am the next morning. Each dot represents 1,000 tweets, and they’re colored according to language. A high-resolution version containing the most-retweeted messages can be downloaded here.
Though the methodology’s a little rough — tweets didn’t mention Steve Jobs by name aren’t included, nor are languages with non-Western alphabets — but it’s enough.
“I have been looking at the tributes,” said NECSI president Yaneer Bar-Yam, “and their extent is itself a tribute.”
Images: Amac? Herdagdelen, Alexander Sayer Gard-Murray, Yaneer Bar-Yam/New England Complex Systems Institute