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  • 00:00


  • 00:09

    MATTHEW ZOOK: So my name is Matthew Zook,I'm a professor in the Department of Geographyat the University of Kentucky.I'm also the managing editor for the SAGE journal,Big Data in Society.So my research is really focused on using crowd sourcedbig data, mostly social media and things like thatto study a range of urban geography questions.

  • 00:31

    MATTHEW ZOOK [continued]: There's a lot of press there's a lot of attentionto how we might use big data to understand cities better.It's a whole genre of things called smart citiesand how we go about doing this.And I tend to focus much more critically on howwe might use these kinds of things, apply themto a range of urban geography and urban planning questions.

  • 00:51

    MATTHEW ZOOK [continued]: A lot of the smart cities or digital citiesas they come, people imagine a city,a sort of a city from a green field,where it starts from absolutely nothing,you put anything put everything in from the ground upand you have the perfect city.But in reality, most of the cities in the worldalready exist or all the cities in the world already exist.

  • 01:13

    MATTHEW ZOOK [continued]: And so a lot of it is trying to thinkabout how we use these new sources of data,these new sort of techniques to maybe makethe city work in better ways.One of the key points of my researchis trying to be very careful about what we do,what we can think about doing with this.So for example, one of the studies I've done recently

  • 01:33

    MATTHEW ZOOK [continued]: is looking at geotagged Twitter datawithin the case study of City of Louisville in Kentucky,it's the largest city in Kentucky.And using that kind of social media datato study how different people are movingthrough the city this particular research project,we divided the city into sort of pickedout two main neighborhoods in the city, one neighborhood that

  • 01:57

    MATTHEW ZOOK [continued]: was predominantly poor probably African-American.And there was a common understandingof people within the city that youwouldn't travel to this neighborhoodbecause it was talked about as being a bad neighborhood,that sort of thing.By using this sort of social media data,we were able to show how in actuality people movedthroughout the city, and this sort of story,

  • 02:18

    MATTHEW ZOOK [continued]: this common understanding of how people use the city wasactually not taking place.One of the key things in doing this, though it didinvolve a lot of extracting from data,aggregating, and often doing various analysis to it,one of the key things about it was tying itback to a specific narrative within the city.This particular narrative was called The Ninth Street Divide.

  • 02:40

    MATTHEW ZOOK [continued]: Ninth Street was a corridor within the cityand people said no one crosses between the east and west sideof this Ninth Street Divide.By using this social media technique,by drawing upon this Twitter data,we were able to show that there was actually a lotmore movement back and forth.But again it really was knowing enough about the city

  • 03:03

    MATTHEW ZOOK [continued]: to know what kind of questions to ask.And this is really a key part whenwe're thinking about using these sort of big data sourcesor big data techniques that not to ask naiveor not to ask questions that aren't all that interesting,which is very easy to do.You sort of get a lot of data, you put them on a map,

  • 03:24

    MATTHEW ZOOK [continued]: you put them into analysis, and you get a result out.But if you don't have a particularly good questionor particularly meaningful question,you're not going to get a particularlyuseful or interesting result out.The reason that these kind of techniques are importantis because it provides an opportunityto see the world in ways we haven't seen before.We're able to see instances of everyday life

  • 03:46

    MATTHEW ZOOK [continued]: that have never been recorded, people's daily habits,and things like that.But as we do this, we have to be very careful that we're notasking questions that aren't interesting,or aren't important, or actually might be misleading.So it's really much about as muchabout asking the right kind of questionsas coming up with the right kind of technique and data ti

  • 04:07

    MATTHEW ZOOK [continued]: ask them.[MUSIC PLAYING]

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

Publication Year: 2019

Video Type:Interview

Methods: Social media research, Big data, Computational social science

Keywords: cities; data analysis; internet data collection; Social media; Twitter; urban geography; urban planning ... Show More

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Matthew Zook, PhD, Professor in the department of Geography at the University of Kentucky, discusses the importance of asking meaningful, interesting, and relevant questions when doing social media research.

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Matthew Zook Discusses Big Data & Urban Geography

Matthew Zook, PhD, Professor in the department of Geography at the University of Kentucky, discusses the importance of asking meaningful, interesting, and relevant questions when doing social media research.

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