Random Thoughts

Mining Twitter for Content

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Take 14 minutes out of your day today or tomorrow and watch this video:

Web 3.0 from Kate Ray on Vimeo.

Is it sad that this excites me?

I love Tim Berners-Lee’s last statement:

“If we end up building all the things I can imagine, we’ve failed.”

This coming from the “father of the World Wide Web”.

The video really talks about now that we have all this information on the web how do we organize it and make it work for us?

In the past week I’ve radically shifted the way I use Twitter, that more closely aligns with this new semantic web approach. It’s been an eye opening experience for me and once again I’m excited about the possibilities that are twitter.

It’s very much about connections, and Twitter is a connection between people. I follow people who I believe will lead me to good content. But how do you know what that good content is in a stream that is over 3,000 people? That is where using semantic web tools such as Twittertim.es comes in. If you haven’t yet given this site a go….I strongly recommend it.

We’ve said for a while now that the “cream raises to the top” and now with a semantic tools like Twittertim.es we have that.

Basically what Twittertim.es does is make since of your twitter stream by collecting all the links that are being shared by those that you follow and gives weight to them based on the amount of times a link appears. Those links with the most tweets and retweets create your Twittertim.es style newspaper.

I no longer follow a stream of people, I use the people to lead me to the best content out there. Today I opened my twittertim.es page and the top 10 stories were all interesting to me. There isn’t another newspaper out there that could do that. This is completely tailored to my specifications based on the people I follow and the news they are reading and retweeting.

Using this same idea, over the weekend I completely redid the decks in Tweetdeck on my computer. I deleted all the lists of people I was following and recreated decks around content. I’m now mining Twitter for the content that is relevant to me. At first I thought that I’d miss my lists of people, but honestly I’m checking Twitter even more, I’ve added one list back, that of the people at my school to help encourage them to continue to use Twitter. I retweet things they post, and respond to them. Now here’s what my Tweetdeck looks like:

Direction Messages
isbangkok list
New Followers

Because I follow mostly educators and Web 2.0 people in Twittertim.es I no longer need those lists in twitter. I let Twittertim.es find the most relevant information from all the people I follow and deliver it to me in an ever changing, up to date way that I could never keep up with.

Because Tweetdeck allows me to add a “New Followers” deck I can easily follow new educators that are following me, just adding to my network and making my results in Twittertim.es that much more relevant.

Tweetdeck has now become a place of content, not a place of people. The lastest news about the Mariners, or the Redshirt protesters in downtown Bangkok. I’m mining Twitter for the content that I want. I add and delete hashtags with what I’m interested in that day. As WordPress 3.0 is coming out soon, I’ll be adding the #wordpress to the deck and when the protest is finally over in downtown Bangkok I’ll delete that deck.

The content is constantly changing depending on my needs. Part of my responsibility then is to share what I find interesting back into the content stream and allow it to be tossed around by the community. It people believe my resource is valuable they retweet it. Just how much content is out there? Only four things I’ve ever shared have shown up in my twittertim.es. Two of my own blog posts (which was an honor) and two things that I shared. Everything else was content I did not know about or was not aware of.

Just another way to find the content you want among a stream of chaotic information.

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. wendy Jones Reply

    This is really useful information. Thanks. I am enjoying both your posts and your tweets. As an educator in teacher training I have a great interest in how technology can be used to support learning and sites such as this make my life much easier

  2. Pingback: Web 3.0 – Semantic web « Brave new world

  3. Pingback: Langwitches Blog » links for 2010-05-12

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