October 16, 2009

Following the tweets

Here is a little Processing application I have put together to visualize Twitter activity. You enter a search term in the box and it shows you tweets that match. As you mouse over the tweets you can see their originator, time and content as well as possible links to previous tweets based on text overlap. .Zip download for Windows, Mac and Linux (just select the right subdirectory and uncompress; I have so far just tested it for Windows)


Time posted is horizontal, while the order of the tweets is vertical. A steady stream of tweets will be a diagonal line, while bursts will produce more vertical slopes and pauses horizontal slope. For example, in the image below there was a television debate between Fredrik Reinfeldt (the Swedish prime minister) and Mona Sahlin (the opposition leader), producing a burst of twittering on the right side.


If you press '+' (while the focus is in the window but not in the text field) the app will try downloading more pages from Twitter, while '-' reduces the number. '*' and '/' increases and decreases the sensitivity to text overlap.

The reason it is an application and not an applet is that this way I do not have to self-sign the .jar file (applets are not normally allowed to connect to outside servers like twitter, and getting around this would take more of my limited time). The program uses the Interfascia and Twitter4J libraries.

Posted by Anders3 at October 16, 2009 04:13 PM