Smoking has a geographical component as the prevalence differs across urban and rural areas as well as affluent and deprived neighborhoods. Anti-smoking organizations have tried to reach people even in the most remote areas and have, therefore, turned to social network sites. An example is the youth-dedicated smoking-cessation organization The Filter Wales (TFW) who have interacted with young people about smoking through Twitter.
The purpose of this case study is to determine the reach of TFW and in what type of geographical area these young people live. The data for this study consisted of Twitter data as these present the possibility to uncover socio-demographic components to the individuals posting those tweets.
The Twitter archives of the young people in contact with TFW are collected and their geolocated tweets isolated. These geolocated tweets were placed in larger geographical areas, which match with other data sources. By joining these different data sources together, the reach of the Twitter campaign of TFW could be determined. This reach exceeded mere geographical location to type of area to remoteness, rural/urban, and neighborhood deprivation of the people they contacted. This method can be applied by any other health organization with a Twitter handle.