Demonstrating Twitter in Conference Presentations

Every so often I see tweets go by along the lines of “demoing twitter – please say hi”, and I typically respond with a link to a Twittermap pipe I created some time ago that takes a URL for a set of Twitter search results and then tries to plot the location of each Twitterer based on their location setting in their Twitter profile:

Having to find the URL a) of an appropriate search, and b) and the feed of that search is a bit of a pain though, so here’s a tweak:

Enter your username and conference hashtag (because these shout outs usually happen at hashtagged events, right?), some sort of hint as to how recently you want the tweets from (you can also enter a date) and the pipework should do its stuff.

The URL for the pipe is of the form:

http://pipes.yahoo.com/ouseful/youtweetedme?u=USERNAME&h=HASHTAG

so for example:
http://pipes.yahoo.com/ouseful/youtweetedme?u=joedale&h=pls10

If you want a Google Maps version, use a URL of the form:

http://maps.google.com/maps
 ?q=http:%2F%2Fpipes.yahoo.com%2Fouseful%2Fyoutweetedme%3F_render%3Dkml
 %26h%3DHASHTAG
 %26t%3Dtoday
 %26u%3DUSERNAME

For practical use, it probably makes sense to bookmark the pipe and/or the Google map with the settings you require (in the case of the Google map, this might include setting the zoom level and central point of the map, and then grabbing the Google generated link for that map configuration).

So how does the pipe work? Lazily, that’s how – we just grab the required parameters and construct the URL that my original Tweetmap pipe required…

There’s an additional hack in the form of the Date Builder block which is used to generate a by-the-second time stamp that is passed as an additional made up parameter to the Twitter search API in order to get round any cacheing issues in Yahoo pipes; (the normal cacheing means that if you’re running the pipe several times in a session, you may not see any new results… Note that the Google Maps views might become stale because of cacheing at the Google end…)

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