Tag Archives: Greg Lavallee

Innovations in Journalism – Twittermeter

We give developers the opportunity to tell us journalists why we should sit up and pay attention to the sites and devices they are working on. Today it’s graphs charting keywords being micro-blogged on Twitter.

image of twittermeter website

1) Who are you and what’s it all about?
My name is Greg Lavallee.  My day job involves web development for non-profits. I satisfy my development and data-oriented urges off the job, Twittermeter was one of a few little side things I did to keep my brain limber.

Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that allows users post short messages via SMS, web or phone and to ‘follow’ friends posts with alerts to their phone, IM client, or the web.

It’s popular amongst the techy set. Knowing that it has a pretty stringent demographic makes looking at what people are twittering about more interesting and that’s what the Twittermeter does. Site visitors can enter one or more words and see them graphed over time.

The programming behind it is a mash-up of multiple APIs from around the web – nothing too custom.

2) Why would this be useful to a journalist?
The Twittermeter provides a graphical representation about what the tech-set is talking about.

Unlike Google Trends, which just measures what people are searching for, Twittermeter is able to capture what they’re texting each other about.

3) Is this it, or is there more to come?

Lots more. I’m redoing the system now to work with a partner who is already capturing similar data for a twitter search engine (Terraminds.com). I’d also like to track popular searches.

4) Why are you doing this?
Just for fun! I used to do a lot of data analysis and now I twitter a lot, so this was a good way to experiment with data visualization, data analysis and my urge to micro-blog.

5) What does it cost to use it?
Zero!

6) How will you make it pay?
I’m considering trying to have ads that run based on the search results, but otherwise it’s not really meant as a money maker… just a fun project to keep my mind working.