Analyzing Entrepreneurial Social Networks with Big Data

Feng Wang, Elizabeth Mack, Ross Maciewjewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


As we begin to understand who uses particular social media platforms, this user information represents a way forward for understanding the types of research questions for which big data might prove valuable. In this respect, the use of social media data for analyzing entrepreneurial networks represents a promising research domain. Not only does the user profile of social media users overlap substantially with the profile of entrepreneurs, but research highlights that the entrepreneurial process is a fundamentally networked activity. Given this research promise, this study analyzes digitally mediated interactions using Twitter data collected about a variety of actors engaged in entrepreneurial networks for the United States over an eighteen-month period. Analytical results reveal that the hashtags used in this analysis (#smallbiz and #entrepreneur) do capture (albeit not exhaustively) well-known actors in entrepreneurial networks, as well as important subtleties in the geography of locales engaged in these networks. The article closes with an agenda for big data research on entrepreneurship that highlights the important role of geographers in unraveling these networked geographies given the complexities of ground-truthing geographic information from big data sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-150
Number of pages21
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017


  • Internet
  • big data
  • entrepreneurship
  • relational geographies
  • social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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