Snapshots of the Digital Environment

E-Health and Residential Segregation

  • I have been playing around with some data recently from the National Cancer Institute – the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS).  From this data, I found that mobile phone usage for health purposes can be classified into two types – usage for practical purposes (making appointments, getting basic health information) and usage for personal purposes (transmitting diagnostic information to health care professionals).  African-Americans are more likely to use their mobile phones for practical purposes.  However, as they live in more segregated areas, their use of the mobile phone for this purpose goes down.  I’m still not exactly sure why this happens.  But it is very interesting.
As segregation increases, the value African-Americans decrease.

As segregation increases, the score for African-Americans decrease.

The “BlackLivesMatter” Hashtag

  • After the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and other black men and boys, Twitter help galvanize several protests across the country and world.  The day before I collected the tweets, protesters had shut down the Mall of America.  On the morning of December 21, 2014, I decided to collect the last 1000 tweets that used the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.  Here is a wordcloud displaying these tweets.
The most frequent words used in the last 1000 tweets with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.

The most frequent words used in the last 1000 tweets with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.

Where the US Stands in Terms of Internet Usage

  • The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) makes data available on the percentage of Internet usage in countries around the world.  I put together a quick chart comparing the US with nine other OECD (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development) countries.  One interpretation is that we stack up pretty favorably.  The US (the black line), had in 2012, about 80% of its people using the Internet.  That is quite good.  The level of Internet penetration has exploded over the past 20 years.  But another, probably more accurate, way of thinking about this number is that compared to other wealthy countries, we are not doing so well.  On this chart, I show four countries with higher percentages of Internet users – Germany, Korea, Norway, and the United Kingdom.  Actually, this chart makes things appear better than they really are.  Of the 34 OECD countries, the US ranks 18th!  You can download my modified spreadsheet here.  Or, you can go to ITU’s website and get the full spreadsheet of all 200+ countries. This is just a snapshot of course, and understanding why this is – or whether it even matters – requires quite a bit more analysis.


Enclaves in the Digital Environment

  • This social network analysis, done in the Spring of 2012, shows how certain sites interlink in such a way that they can be seen as enclaves in the digital environment.  Websites that interlink are similarly colored.  For example, the red and blue nodes are websites that by and large cater to African Americans (especially the red sites, which are entirely African American sites), the yellow nodes are websites that are a mixture of mainstream and conservative, and the green nodes are a mix of mainstream and liberal.


Race in the Twitterverse

  • Using the stats package R I collected tweets that all had the hashtag #antiwhite (I am working on understanding racism in the digital environment, and the phrase “anti-racism is code for anti-white” pops up frequently).  The wordcloud below represents the keywords found in tweets with #antiwhite.  This is really enlightening as you can see the other key words and hasthtags that are associated with antiwhite.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s