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Watch the UK — and the world — tweet its opinions on Scottish independence

Zack Beauchamp is a senior correspondent at Vox, where he covers ideology and challenges to democracy, both at home and abroad. Before coming to Vox in 2014, he edited TP Ideas, a section of Think Progress devoted to the ideas shaping our political world.

TrendsMap, a company that tracks trends and hashtags on Twitter, has made an absolutely beautiful map of where people in the UK  — and around the world — have been tweeting in support or against Scottish independence. Turns out that Twitter users in Scotland, and really most places outside of the rest of the UK, are pretty into the idea of Scottish independence.

To get the data, TrendsMap trawled Twitter for the use of six hashtags — three of which were pro-independence, three of which were against it — from 1 a.m. to 10 a.m. Eastern on Thursday (6 a.m. to 3 p.m. UK time). Then they mapped the results, showing concentrations of pro-independence sentiment with the word "Yes" — the bigger the lettering, the more concentrated — and opposition in the word "No." Here's a gif that shows two time slices, one early in the morning British time and another in the mid-afternoon:

indyref GIF UK


On TrendsMap's site, you can play around with the time parameters and the zoom on your own. It's really cool, and worth your time.

The basic takeaway, though, is that British Twitter users mostly oppose the Scottish independence — except the Scottish, the only people who actually matter. Here's a map of the different parts of the UK, for reference:

england scotland wales northern ireland UK map

(Matt Lewis)

Compare that to TrendsMap's annoyingly unlabeled map, and you'll see a concentration of Yes sentiment in Scotland. That makes a certain amount of sense, as younger voters, the people most likely to be on Twitter, are generally more pro-Yes than their older peers.

In fact, Yes tweets swamp their No equivalents so thoroughly that it's almost impossible to learn anything meaningful about the distribution of votes inside Scotland itself. The Telegraph has a good breakdown of that, but TrendsMap can show us one other thing: the global Twittersphere is pretty pro-Yes. Here's a zoomed out take of almost the whole world, again from the early morning and afternoon UK time:

indyref world tweets


Yep, it's a pretty blue map. Especially in Catalonia in northeast Spain, as many Catalonians are looking to Scotland as an example for their own independence movement.

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