As reported last week by TechCrunch, microblogging service Twitter has switched on part of its new geolocation API, which will see latitude and longitude coordinates attached to a user’s updates, who can choose to opt-in.
As an API this information will be available to third-parties – an idea taken up by iPhone app Tweetie, which is using it to map tweets.
Looking ahead, this could be a useful tool for news organisations, for example to plot Twitter buzz by location – especially to see what was being said about a news story by those in the area it had happened in.
While there are a range of ways for journalists to use Twitter for newsgathering purposes, this new functionality has great potential too, as suggested by Mashable’s five-point plan.
Mashable’s suggestions of tracking trending places – useful for monitoring breaking news trends on Twitter over an area; and an extension of an existing service, Tweetmondo, using the new API that would send you a direct message whenever someone mentioned a place of interest to you.
As well as notifying journalists about tweets relating to certain places on their patch, a service like this could also be used in a marketing/commercial tie-up. For a local news organisation, for example, such tweets could be used to attract new readers by targetting places of interest to them – businesses or attractions they frequent for example.
Additionally there’s scope for local news organisations to stream location-based tweets to create a real-time feed of conversation about their area.