A geolocated tweet is a powerful thing. En masse, they can tell us where people speak certain languages and how citizens respond to natural disasters. They can also just tell us who is craving a very specific brand of hamburger.
PeekAnalytics spent a month tracking millions of tweets about burger chains, then they created this interactive U.S. map. Here’s the twist: What you see isn’t actually the locations of McDonald’s-esque spots around America. It’s every city in the U.S. represented by its population’s most tweeted-about mass-market burger joint.
Now the results aren’t pretty–and the sea of large logos is generally far more overwhelming than it is clear–but as you can zoom in close and toggle specific chains on/off, there is still a little fun to be had. For instance, would you think that in Culver, Indiana, the most-referenced spot would be Shake Shack–an East Coast (though increasingly global) temple of gourmet grease? And the same can be said for Fargo, North Dakota, Lewisburg, Tennessee, and Burr Ridge, Illinois. It makes you wonder, do those cities have more East Coast transplants or tourists? Are they lacking other burger chains to tweet about? Or is some person in each of these cities just very, very vocal about their love for Shake Shack on Twitter?
But ultimately, I just wish someone would take the idea even further. What if we could contextually map tweets to spot the most popular restaurant of any type in any town? Or what if we actually mapped out individual dishes? To some extent, these are the very things that analytics companies are hired to do for businesses already. Even still, there’s a lot of mass-market appeal to such findings, too. And we’ve barely scratched the surface of mining Twitter’s big-data pop-culture appeal.