In theory, Twitter is an ideal mechanism for finding out what the hot online topics are and what people are saying about them. In reality, tracking patterns in Twitter activity is much easier said than done -- which is where the new TWeather platform comes in.
Weathering the Twitter Storm
In a short introductory video on the TWeather home page, an unidentified man (presumably a founder) explains that TWeather is designed to give reports on what is emerging on Twitter -- the “clouds and patterns” of tweets on different topics. “Tweets are like rain it’s all over the place; if I look at every drop I don’t really know what’s going on,” he states.
TWeather attempts to rectify this problem by providing 10-minute “weather” updates on popular trending topics in Twitter. From the home page, users can select any one of the top 10 currently trending topics or a link within featured topics such as politics and music. From there, the user is brought to a “TWeather report” that displays a cloud of constantly shifting keywords relating to the topic. The larger and closer to the right of the screen a keyword is located, the more “hot” it currently is.
By selecting a keyword, users can see related tweets. Reports are updated every 10 minutes and users can scroll back to see previous reports. Thus TWeather presents tweet trending data in a way that makes it easier for users to detect and track patterns than they can by scrolling through topical Twitter timelines. Users can subscribe to TWeather reports from their Twitter accounts, and once a user subscribes to five different reports, they can create their own TWeather reports.
Expert Cites TWeather Innovation
On his Portals and KM blog, Merced Group Partner Bill Ives praises TWeather as “innovative and useful” and as delivering a “new way to observe and discover the movement of tweets.” Ives also points out that TWeather is powered by technology from Darwin Ecosystems and that the free site “is supported by a relevant messaging-based advertisement placement service” which serves contextually-based ads.
Twitter API Rules Don’t Stop TWeather Development
TWeather may serve as an early test of Twitter’s new API rules which have stricter authentication policies and developer rules of the road, among other new features. Although Twitter is stressing that the new changes will help eliminate abuses and make Twitter app development a more structured and orderly process, many observers have speculated the move is really to ensure Twitter makes a profit at the expense of third-part developers.
While it’s too early to say whether TWeather will prove financially successful, considering the advanced functionality it offers, Twitter can point to TWeather as an example of how the new API rules are not inhibiting developer creativity.