The shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police on Aug. 9 and the subsequent protests regarding his death in Ferguson, Mo. have been major topics on Twitter for more than a week. Now we actually know how conversation about the events in the St. Louis suburb has spread across the world.
The discussion may have started in Missouri, the location of the events, but word quickly spread across the country and the world, according to an animated infographic Twitter put together recently. Twitter created this heatmap by compiling all the geotagged tweets that mentioned Ferguson.
As you can see from the above map, the chatter about Ferguson on Twitter steadily increased mostly in the U.S. and the U.K. from Aug. 9, when the news of Brown's shooting first broke, through Aug. 11. Then, the global conversation about the events picked up on Aug. 12, when the protests in Ferguson started to pick up more steam. The map really lit up from Aug. 13 onward, when pretty much everyone in the U.S. and the U.K. were talking about it. People from countries in South America, Africa, the Middle East and Australia were also tweeting about it, fueled by reports of intensifying police aggression from the scene, such as the use of tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters. This is when conversation about Ferguson peaked with more than 4,400 tweets sent per minute with the hashtag "#Ferguson," according to data from Twitter.
Twitter has been a major source of information and a destination for discussion about the events in Ferguson since they began. Shortly after Brown's shooting, the hashtag "#IfTheyGunnedMeDown" went viral, with users tweeting out photos of themselves and asking which one the media would choose to run if they had been shot as Brown had. Members of the "hacktivist" group Anonymous also have tweeted support and information related to the night of Brown's shooting. Users also used the hashtag "#MediaBlackout" last week to discuss the media's coverage of the protests in Ferguson, which also became a trending topic on Twitter.
As the protests in Ferguson continue, we can be sure people will continue to talk about it on Twitter.