May 8, 2009

Twitter Search

There are announcements that Twitter will add new functionalities to Twitter Search (Cnet). Links will be crawled (which is currently not the case) and a reputation ranking system will be worked out. This is of course good news.

But some of the current limitations of Twitter Search are not discussed. The Twitter Search API currently returns up to 1500 search results. Older tweets cannot be found thru the API. According to Mashable there were over 10000 tweets per hour related to swine flue. Even if there are less than 1500 matching tweets for a search query, tweets older than a couple of months will not be found. Tweets from several months apparantly disappear in a black hole for Twitter Search.

Another issue to be tackled with a reputation ranking system is that it has to take into account that there are many (sub) communities on the Twitter platform. They are all linked together thru Twitter users who are within multiple communities. Twitter users in a country can be considered as an example of such a community, as shown in the various previous posts on this blog where the twitospheres in particular countries were analyzed. But there are also communities by topics of interest.

Reputation is important within a context. A user from France will probable use French for his tweets within the French Twitter community, whereas a German Twitter user will use German. How will a global reputation tackle these contexts ? How will a reputation ranking system detect the language used in tweets ? Someone can be very influential in a specialized community, but on a global level never appear in a top 1000.

Reputation is a property linked to a person, where a person can have a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a Linkedin profile, one or more blogs. But he can also be present in the traditional world, he can be invited as speaker on major conferences, he is perhaps author of groundbreaking books, ... A reputation ranking system within Twitter will only catch a part of someone's "global" reputation.

Nevertheless I am looking forward to the new functionalities that Twitter will be releasing in their Twitter Search product, hopefully soon.

May 3, 2009

Poken on Twitter

A poken is a small physical device capable of exchanging online social networking data with other poken devices. A poken has a USB connector, so you can plug the device into your computer to connect your device to the Poken web database. On the Poken website you can decide which social networking profiles you want to share with your Poken friends. This social network profile can be your Twitter account. If two poken devices are held close to each other, they will exchange contact data of the owners.

Pokens are produced by a Swiss company. The inventors of this device saw it as a digital alternative of exchanging business cards. Pokens were launched in the last trimester of 2008. They became pretty soon a hype in the Netherlands. Only in March 2009 this device got attention on the TechCrunch blog. Pokens were also presented at the SXSW conference, where they became talk of the conference - as Twitter was during the 2007 edition of SXSW.

I have been tracking the buzz on Twitter regarding pokens for a while now. You can find below some graphs showing insight on how the poken hype evolved over the past months. This analysis was performed on data obtained thru Twitter Search. Only Twitter messages from public Twitter users were available for analysis. Since September 2008 I discovered over 31,000 Twitter messages from 7641 different Twitter users.

The first graph shows the number of Twitter messages per day related to poken.

You can compare this graph with the result of Google Trends for Poken - showing the usage of the term in searches. Another reference chart is the number of blogposts found by Blogpulse refering to Poken.

The hype on Twitter started before the hype on blogs (shown on the Blogpulse chart) and the hype in search trends (Google Trends).

Another interesting graph is the cumulative number of Twitter users who posted at least one Twitter message related to poken. This graph shows that the number of users is still increasing.

I tried to link the 7641 different Twitter users to their location, their country - based on the information in the Twitter profiles.

The top 5 countries ranked according to the number of messages :

Netherlands 34% of all messages related to Poken
Germany 16%
Japan 15%
USA 9%
Belgium 4%
The top 5 countries ranked according to the users :
Netherlands 24% of all users posting Twitter messages related to Poken
Germany 16%
USA 14%
Japan 9%
Belgium 5%
A similar distribution can be found in the information for Google Trends for Twitter. Both lists are dominated by The Netherlands. Swiss internet users search often for poken, however Twitter uses from Switzerland are less active, they are only ranked 7.

The hype in the different countries can be observed in the graph showing the number of Twitter messages related to poken. Twitter users in the Netherlands started posting Twitter messages related to poken from December 2008, with a first peak around mid January 2009. Since then the hype around Poken has faded away within the Dutch Twitter user community. Twitter users in Germany picked up the Poken hype around mid March 2009, with a first peak on March 28. The hype is still continuing at a rate of about 100 Twitter messages per day.

A similar pattern can be observed in the graph showing the number of Twitter users having posted messages related to poken. Currently there are more Twitter users in the Netherlands who have posted Poken related Twitter messages, but it the trend continues there will be soon more German Twitter users.

Twitter messages related to poken came from over 70 countries, from all over the world. There came from the Netherlands and Germany (as can be observed in the graphs shown above), from Japan and the United States, but also from countries such as Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand, China and Malaysia. Dedicated Twitter accounts for Pokens have been set up in different countries : Belgium, Germany, Italy, Japan, Slovakia, Spain and South Africa.