Visualize your Twitter stream topics

ttscoff's Twitter stream, visualized

I worked out a somewhat cool trick this morning using Twitter, some PHP and Wordle.net. If you’re curious to see what the major topics of conversation are in your Twitter stream right now, follow the instructions below. It currently piggy backs off of a dead project (JustTheLinks) I was working on, so it needs some polish before it’s presented as any kind of usable service. Before I put too much time into it, though, I wanted to get some reactions.

Here are the current steps:

  1. Sign in using Twitter at http://justthelinks.com.
  2. Ignore the fsck’d up project that comes up after sign-in.
  3. Go to this page.
  4. Copy all of the text on the page into your clipboard.
  5. Go to Wordle and paste the text into the textarea at the top (the one that says “Paste in a bunch of text”).
  6. Press “Go.”
  7. Adjust your layout and colors as desired (or just hit “randomize” until you like it). I recommend going to Layout->Maximum Words and setting it to 300 or so.

My service grabs as many of the recent tweets from your stream as it can, then removes @names, excess punctuation and links. Then it lowercases and spits back the remaining text. The stream will include tweets from everyone you follow (excluding you), giving you a very good idea what topics are hot among your chosen group of Tweeps.

Let me know how it goes. I’m thinking about doing a much simpler word cloud output by default, but someone’s probably already beat me to that. I just like seeing if I can do the things that pop into my head. Yes, because there’s something fundamentally wrong with my brain.

Brett Terpstra

Brett is a writer and developer living in Minnesota, USA. You can follow him as ttscoff on Twitter, GitHub, and Mastodon. Keep up with this blog by subscribing in your favorite news reader.

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