Researchers have published a study that tracks more than 1.5 billion tweets to map online discussions of topics such as Hurricane Sandy and the 2012 U.S. elections. Though held back by the lack of geotagging on most tweets, the study provides a snapshot of the ways in which tweeted messages spread around the world. "It's fascinating to see tangible evidence of how social networks like Twitter can help to erase geographical barriers," writes Mathew Ingram.

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