Exploring Social Media: Twisasters

Filed as Features on April 28, 2009 8:32 am

Exploring Social Media article series badgeWith the recent fears of a pandemic with the Mexico Swine Flu and an earthquake today in Mexico City, there is a lot to be nervous about. Add to it the continued spread of the conflickr/downadup virus online…with all the manmade and natural disasters and our obsessive interest in them, you would think that there would be an easy way to find out what there is to be worried about in the world.

Oh, wait. There is. Meet Twisaster.

Twisaster is a third-party app for that monitors disaster keywords on Twitter, including:

  • Accident
  • Bombs
  • Cyberwar
  • Earthquake
  • Flood
  • Hurricane
  • Murder
  • Terrorists
  • Volcano

twisaster - track disasters in TwitterTwisaster isn’t pretty and doesn’t have to be. It just gives you the core information you need. Created by Benedikt Koehler of Metaroll directory of German language blogs, Twisaster tracks the Twitter conversations for those keywords, giving disaster fans, educators, researchers, and the media a live perspective on the things that make us lose sleep in the night.

It’s not a perfect tracker but it is close. The scan doesn’t just look for those specific words, it looks for synonyms and similar words. Tweets such as “she calls me her volcanic god” or “his kiss was an earthquake” come up in the list, as would be expected.

In general, it does tell you a lot about the conversations on those subjects. In the volcano category, I found some interesting educational links and comments on volcanoes, volcanic glass, and active volcanoes around the world.

I’d like to see more categories associated with manmade and natural disasters tracked, such as disaster storms like tornadoes and tsunamis, and illnesses such as flu, virus, epidemic, and pandemic, becoming a CDC tracker in a way. This would make it very relevant today with the spread of the swine flu globally.

Working from this basic keyword tracking scheme, Benedikt created other apps for tracking a variety of themed keywords in German and English:

  • Twetter to track the “weather in Twitter County” for mentions of different types of weather.
  • EatFeed for Döner (Dinner), Pommes (fries/chips), Wurst (sausage), Sushi, Schnitzel, and Pasta.
  • DrinkFeed tracks the drinking and eating categories on Twitter such as coffee, wine, beer, tea, milk, vodka, cocktail, and soft drinks.
  • EcoFeed tracks Global Warming, Alternative Energy, Sustainability, Organic Food, Environmentalism, Endangered Species, Inconvenient Truth, and Urbanization.
  • GrapeFeed bringing the latest mentions of wine on Twitter, a tool Gary Vaynerchuk probably has in his arsenal of social media tools.

There are a lot of possibilities with such a Twitter app. Why not track restaurants and cafes to see what people recommend to eat, in addition to drink. Why not track software, hardware, or other core subjects?

I’d love to see this app turned into something user-driven. I’d want to create my own set of keywords with synonyms to track in this very simple format.

What would you like to track categorically on Twitter? What tools are you using to do so?

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  1. By jjjones posted on December 30, 2009 at 2:32 am
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    There are many different Social Medial sites. One of the most imporant in my exp is facebook. it used to be myspace but no days. No one uses myspace anymore. Its all about twitter and facebook. imo

    CDC Swine Flu

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