TrendsMap: "Real-Time Local Twitter Trends"
A couple of weeks ago, on the NYT op-ed page, former ad executive James P. Othmer had some advice for President Obama: “Don’t Tweet About Health Care.” Well, that was the headline, anyway. The kicker was the slightly more nuanced “Here’s hoping that the next time Mr. Obama needs to deliver a complex idea, he’ll once again use more than 140 characters at a time.”
No way to tell if the president’s Twitter team was paying attention; there have been a few new healthcare tweets from @whitehouse to its 1.2 million followers since then, though most seem to be of the descriptive, not prescriptive variety. But as most of the Twittersphere knows by now, apparently someone else who could have paid attention and didn’t was Washington Post managing editor Raju Narisetti, whose “personal” tweets about this and other topics were the proximate cause of a new WaPo policy severely limiting how its journalists deploy those limited-length thoughtlets. Not to mention whom they friend or discuss online. (Props to Staci D. Kramer (@sdkstl) – one of my favorite freelancers when I was the Tribune’s AME for business – for obtaining and publishing the guidelines on PaidContent.org.)
In his blog, “Pursuing the Complete Community Connection,” Steve Buttry of the Cedar Rapids Gazette (with whom I worked on the American Press Institute’s Newspaper Next project a few years ago) has a good summary of the fooferaw, some balanced reflections on the idea behind them, and some strong opinions on what appears to be wrong with them. Fairly worthwhile way to start the morning if you were able to take the weekend off from reading and tweeting and blogging and such.
And the fact of the matter is, it probably would have been a good idea if you did. Twitter exhaustion has not yet set in the investment community, given the company’s apparent $1 billion valuation last week. But as useful a tool as it appears to be, I am wondering if it’s really worthwhile to make sure I haven’t missed any of the 102 articles mentioning Twitter in the NYT this month.
‘Tis a far, far better thing we do, perhaps, when we start exploring some of the remarkable things that programmers are doing with the Twitter API and a few other miracles. That leads us to the map at the top of this post. My old Tribune Interactive pal Carlos Barrionuevo pinged me on Facebook the other day to tell me about trendsmap.com by Stateless Systems. “Trendsmap.com is a real-time mapping of Twitter trends across the world. See what the global, collective mass of humanity are discussing right now,” says the Web site. Actually, you don’t have to be content just to see what topics are trending; you can drill down on any box and see the tweets flash by.
- Chicago-area Trendsmap from Sunday night
Today being Sunday (well, it was Sunday when I started writing), there were a heck of a lot of NFL team nicknames in large, easy-to-read type. Zooming in on the Chicago area (click on image at right to enlarge) brought additional granularity: hester, cutler, jaycutler6, touchdown. When I played with this on Friday morning, there were big stacks o’ tweets about “Paranormal” in all the cities where it had been screened the night before.
“In the last two days I have found real time info on two events before the local/national media reported it,” Carlos told me. “Really scary what true crowdsourcing can produce.”
Scary or no, it’s these apps that probably give Twitter much of its potential for staying power, even as the nattering about its lack of a revenue model percolates away. Later Friday Mashable ran another one of those Hitwise charts indicating that traffic to Twitter.com may be plateauing, after a year in which its growth ranged between, oh, 422% and 1382%.
But, once again, wait a minute. People build enough of these interesting sites that tell you something about the world, as opposed to just showing you the tweets, and you know what? You might be nuts to go back to Twitter.com except to change your background image.
Or to learn about health care, half a thought at a time.
ADD END: What, you don’t think this is such a festival? Here, let’s allow Mashable to help. Posted this morning: 10 Hilarious Twitter Parody Videos, including a “tutorial” from the Onion on stalking your kids via Facebook and Twitter.