Twitter geolocation: what uses for newsrooms?

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.

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