We’ve already seen visualizations of the world waking up via Twitter; the explosive development of Twitter’s back-end code; and the hot topics in your Twitter network. Now, here’s TweetCatcha, a visualization that lets you see how Twitter commentary is developing overtime. Though it launched last week, it immediately crashed; now, it’s back and working. It looks like a bunch of sperm swimming away from an egg!
Anyway, it was designed by Nick Hardeman, a graduate student at Parsons, and it has a dead-simple interface. Clicking “view more” for any of the stories on the splash page leads you to a detailed view. The original story sits at the center of a bunch of concentric rings, each of which represents one hour, and Twitter pick-ups of that story are plotted accordingly. Every story has 24 rings, so you can see how it was picked up 24 hours after it was first published.
There are, however, two limitations that prevent this from being a truly robust tool. First, the stories themselves are archival (the last day is February 7), because Hardeman had to pull the data first before creating the visualization. Second, the data mining itself is only picking up mentions that contain that original shortened URL link to the story–which means you’re missing out on most of the ensuing buzz, and also missing out on alternate threads of conversation. But, nonetheless, it’s all pretty tantalizing for a quick student project, constrained as it was by manpower and processing might. Shouldn’t Twitter be working on something like this?