It’s Saturday. Which means you probably have nothing better to do than go to a beauty show in a home in central China. Or join Dionysus at a cafe in Rome. Or, possibly, be on the lookout for small dogs in Alaska.
If you’re considering any of those things, you’re probably monitoring the global zeitgeist for any signs of intelligence at all. And that’s just gotten easier, with a little project published this morning on Github: Real-time geolocated tweets.
Argentinian developer Dan Zajdband created the site using four services: Tuiter, a library he developed himself to ease working with the Twitter API, Express, Socket IO, and of course, Google Maps.
The result is poetry in code. It’s a little hypnotic, actually, watching tweets fall from the sky and land on the planet:
This is not the first time we’ve seen tweets put on a map in something like realtime.
There’ve been similar projects, including TweetMap, TwitterNano and the seminal A World of Tweets, which is almost two years old. That site, however, only shows geographical distribution and concentration, which shows Twitter is pretty clearly a Europe and Americas phenomenon, with some serious input from south-east Asia:
Zajdband’s site, of course, is more a proof-of-concept than anything else. Still, it’s an interesting insight into the global spread of Twitter as a service, and a window into different places and cultures. For example, after being compelled by this tweet to look up the word “psyanka,” I now know it is a Ukrainian easter egg:
One can only hope that this northern European gentleman is watching a James Bond movie?
And Chomphead1988, who seems to be visiting Venezuela, has just been referred to as “my white friend.”
While it’s interesting to view personal conversations unfolding on a global level, the service also brings up privacy questions. Anyone who posts on Twitter posts in the public domain, of course, unless they protect their tweets. The theory and the reality of that fact, however, may be two different things.
In any case, it’s an impressive accomplishment for an individual programmer.
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