Instagram Used to Measure Which US States are the Most Gun Obsessed
For Obama, but more importantly for whoever follows him, it will be important to keep the debate open and know how it applies differently across the country. In order to get a better idea of that, it's always worth turning to social media, which can often act as a deep data pool which eliminates the need for surveying. In this case, the weapon of choice has been Instagram.
Net Quote have released a series of infographics based on the frequency and popularity of 12 gun-related hashtags, state by state. Around 6 million images were analysed, and the data is isolated into several categories, including the highest number of gun posts per 100,000 state sample, likes per hashtag, and even the increase in popularity of each hashtag, timelined in conjunction with 9 of the most recent mass shootings.
It's somewhat difficult to know exactly what to make of this data; the most direct conclusion Net Quote drew themselves was that in areas where gun violence is less common, the general opinion seems to be a microcosm of the national one. What is perhaps more revealing is the frequency of certain hashtags in particular cities.
For example, Gainsville in Florida shows the most frequent use of both #gun and #gunporn. Pretty clear cut, right? Well, #NRA is also most frequently used in the city, which could just be indicative of the association's presence there, but likely also accounts for the increasing public opposition to the state's position as the NRA's "lapdog", something which in recent months has actually prompted state legislation against gun bills. Florida is, of course, also where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, who initially could not be charged due to the controversial 'Stand Your Ground' law, although he was eventually found guilty of second-degree murder.
The frequency of likes in different areas also indicates whether the gun discussion is more public or private, seeing as Instagram can naturally be either. In California, which as of 2010 had the highest number of gun murders of any state, the number of likes on gun posts is extremely high, whilst West Virginia, which has an extremely high rate of ownership, but a low death toll, the likes per post are some of the lowest.
Instagram is particularly good for this kind of research because for every post of someone proudly showing off their latest piece, you'll get another one which is primarily designed to raise debate or stir the pot. This kind of data could provide a far clearer picture for how to approach gun control on a case-by-case basis.
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum
Instagram Used to Measure Which US States are the Most Gun Obsessed Reviewed by Callum Davies on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 Rating: