Hyperlocal Twitter Trends

Just by the by, I idly tweeted last week along the lines of “does anyone know of a twitter trends service that identifies trending topics within a particular region or locale?”.

I didn’t receive any links to such a service at the time (and didn’t build the service myself…) but it strikes me that this could be a really useful hyperlocal news service?

An alternative might be to find ‘trending locations’ or ‘trending places’ rather than trending hashtags or topics, so if there is a sudden flurry of tweets in a particular area, it could get flagged (does Twitter this anyway with its trending topics?).

The locus of the trending regions need not be limited to ‘a circle within fifty miles of a point’ either; they could (with lots of computing power;-) be points along a line, such as a road, for example.

As an asymmetric follower type (I have many more followers than people I follow on Twitter), it might also be handy to be able to see trending topics across the people who follow me, just in case the sampled population that I do follow aren’t a fair sample of the people who follow me…

Just a thought… now back to the jet lag :-(

[See also: Mapping Realtime Events on Twitter and this Simple Embeddable Twitter Map Mashup]

UPDATE: with the release of a Twitter geo api, it didn’t take long: Trendsmap

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

6 thoughts on “Hyperlocal Twitter Trends”

  1. Missed your tweet – thus I want some kind of feedforward-style tweet-mixer so I can turn down the people I don’t care about and turn up the interesting people! Or perhaps just get vicious and un-follow everyone.

    Hyperlocal tweets? That kind of stuff REALLY tempts me… If I can make myself a little time… btw you might like also like my hyperlocal-town-planning-crowdsource-reality-hacking idea (which I’m trying to get some cash for at the mo) http://tr.im/pl7T

  2. As someone who has a hyperlocal (0.5 Sq Mile) twitter and tumblr sites and is interested in local news (in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter), such a service would be invaluable. Come on all you techies out there – opportunity for a hyperlocal killer application!

  3. Cross posted from my entry on bevocal.org.uk :

    It does already exist, although it’s not perfect, here’s an example for Brum:


    It’s cool and interesting, but, for a start, areas have to be explicitly added, you can’t search for a place, it’s either in the list or it’s not.

    Secondly, there’s no API, there’s potentially a lot of cool stuff that could be done with this data, but it’s all locked up in their database. Personally I think anything that uses Twitter’s API should be forced to release an open API too.

    I’m looking into ways of doing something similar with these improvements, but it may take some time – I’ve got a way of counting words, but no way of getting common phrases. Anyone got any ideas for a regex or similar I could use?

    1. Hey Stuart!

      Thanks for the notes on Happn.in.

      You are correct, cities have to be explicitly added, which isn’t ideal. However, the only way we can guarantee data quality is to first ensure that there is enough Twitter traffic in a given location to capture trends.

      There actually is a (hidden) API here: http://api.happn.in. It allows anybody to pull from our stream of trending topics.

      Jay @ Happn.in

  4. Ah, good stuff, look forward to having a play with the API :)

    I totally understand your reasoning behind adding cities manually, looking at searches in more detail it does seem that data quality could be a problem.

    Really appreciate you getting in touch and look forward to seeing what other developments you guys have in store!



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