How much and how is Flickr spread? What can we learn from the geographical distribution of the photos shared on the platform? The answer comes from a study by Mark Graham and Antonello Romano who monitored the use of Flickr in the world and created a map (http://geonet.oii.ox.ac.uk/blog/mapping-flickr/) that shows huge differences in where content is being posted.
What about this map?
Antonello Romano @Antorom: The map shows the global spatial distribution of 7,015,778 geo-tagged photos, posted on Flickr in 2015. In order to highlight the unequal distribution of the sample, the data were benchmarked against their highest value: photos geo-tagged in the US. The map tells of areas extremely dense with user generated geographic information and areas far less populated by digital content.
How can you explain this geographical differences in the use of Flickr?
Mark Graham @geoplace: The use of Flickr obviously relies on internet access. And it is worth remembering that a majority of humanity has still never used the internet. But there also seem to be other trends at play here. In some countries (such as China), there will be competing dominant services in use. But, it remains that some people in some parts of the world simply produce more digital content and information that others.
Is Flickr a service for the Western States? It represents a digital growing divide?
Mark Graham @geoplace: It is certainly a signal that there is an already existing digital divide between the high and low-content countries. But whether it signals a growing divide remains to be seen.
The map tells us that Flickr but more generally social network has great growth potential in future?
Mark Graham @geoplace: Well, we know that more than half of the world has yet to be connected to the internet. So there is certainly a lot of potential for growth in those areas.
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