Monday, August 17, 2009

Twimpact Work In Progress

Twimpact has been running smoothly in its small niche of the internet, and we're currently trying to improve the way retweets are crawled and analyzed. The problem is that people often add some comment to the end of the original message, and also edit the original message such that it's not that straightforward to really know whether you have a new tweet or not.

There are also some more bugs, which will be fixed soon. For example, apparently, we weren't handling underscores in user names correctly such that "RT @nfl_games" became a retweet of the user "nfl" with the message "games", which has been retweeted more than 1800 times.

We currently also don't filter out users who retweet a tweet repeatedly or who retweet their own tweets, leading to all kinds of retweet bots and retweet-spam networks being high up in our retweet trends. While that may not be so informative, it is still interesting to see what kind of business ideas people come up with around the twitter platform.

For example, dannywhitehouse apparently has a service called twitter-bomb which I guess does all kinds of nasty things which are certainly not covered by twitter's Terms of Service, but who still managed to amass more than thirteen thousand followers.

In any, case we'll be rolling out the improvements soon, maybe this week, so stay tuned! The only problem we'll run into is that we have to reprocess all the tweets already in our database 8-O

Monday, August 03, 2009


For the last one and a half months, Matthias Jugel and I have been working on a site which computes impact scores for twitter users based on how often their tweets become retweeted.

The project was really lots of fun so far. The first time we got the thing up and running was around the time of the Iranian elections and suddenly seeing all those tweets in real-time gave a feeling of directly tapping into the twitterverse.

The winner twimpact wise is clearly mashable with a twimpact score of 89 right now and over ten thousand retweeted messages. Other top users include: news cites like breakingnews, cnnbrk, and smashingmag, or celebrities with many, many followers like aplusk (Ashton Kutcher), or iamdiddy (Puff Diddy).

On the entry page you can see a live view of what has been retweeted most in the last hour. It's quite interesting to see what is popping up there. For example, surprisingly, there are many competitions of the form "retweet this and win a laptop" like this one which has been retweeted over 1300 times. Another kind of retweet is the inspirational message from users like deepak_chopra which people like to pass on. But apart from that you have of course current news, interesting links and so on. These are mostly technology and web related, which reflects the user base of twitter quite well, I think.

So go ahead and compute your twimpact score, or just sit back and look at what people are currently retweeting.