StarvingFilmCritic

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The potential of Trendsmap.com

with 2 comments

There’s a lot I don’t know about Twitter and the various ways outside websites aggregate its data.  I was most impressed by Trendsmap.com and the way it sorts out trending topics by location and plots them out on a map.  The website uses location data listed on user accounts with the trending data to position the trends at certain locations.

I could use Trendsmap to see what’s going on in locations I’m interested in like Hollywood, Chicago, or New York.  It can also give me an idea of what people in the US or a particular state are talking about.  Trends on the website grow as they become more popular which would allow news companies to write related stories or use the trending topics to promote stories on a similar topic that they’ve already written.  Weiner was trending in the DC metro area and in California at the time this post was written.  Newspapers with stories about Weiner and Democratic reactions to his decisions in the face of the current scandal could be promoted on Twitter and could probably grab an audience in areas where the topic is already trending.

Unfortunately there are some drawbacks to Trendsmap. The website uses the location listed in the user profile and doesn’t use geotagging for approximate location.  This means that it’s not possible to use Trendsmap to see what a large group of visitors think of a particular location or event.  It would be impossible to hover over Cannes, France during the Cannes Film Festival and see what attendees are tweeting about because many are visiting France for the festival and their tweets are centered on whatever home location they entered on their profile.  This drawback does not affect events that take place on a national or global scale like the Olympics, the World Cup, a nationally broadcasted awards ceremony or important political events.

Trendsmap needs positional data from users for it to accurately follow trends, but not everyone is comfortable with the internet knowing their location, even if they keep their personal life separate from their internet personality.  While complete disclosure would allow Trendsmap to accurately follow trending topics, it might make people feel as if big brother is watching.  Knowledge of what’s important to a particular area is useful for reporting, but it could also be useful for less savory purposes.

Trendsmap is definitely a powerful tool for newsrooms to turn to when they want to gather popular topics relevant to a particular geographical area, but it is not a magic bullet that will solve all the problems.  I will definitely keep the website bookmarked in my hotbar and I think that any reporter that wants to use Twitter as a potential source for stories should do the same thing.

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Written by Christopher Siler

2011/06/14 at 20:54

2 Responses

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  1. […] The potential of Trendsmap.com (Siler, […]

  2. […] The potential of Trendsmap.com(Siler, 2011): This is a blog post, which describes the potential and credibility of Trendsmap for newsrooms. […]


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