Over the last several years there have been several data collections that have been the focus of technology demonstrations and refinements. For a long time programmers experimented with the DMOZ database. Then it was Wikipedia. And now it seems that a lot of attention is being paid to developing technology for Twitter, though it is a much more dynamic and changing data pool than possibly even Wikipedia (imho).
One tool I learned about recently was twendz, available at http://twendz.waggeneredstrom.com/. This tool lets you run a search and get an constantly-refreshing list of tweets, along with related topics, a word cloud, and an attempt to measure the “mood” of the tweets.
When you first go to the site it defaults to showing you trend words. The only thing that showed me is that, wow, Twitter can get some spam. I added in my own keywords, trying a search for football. Immediately tweets started rolling up with the keyword, and after a couple of minutes related topics appeared with some measurement on the tone of the tweets — good, bad, or
neutral. (If you’re not happy with the speed that the tweets are rolling up you can speed them up or slow them down.)
Topics are handled in an interesting way. If you click on a word in the topic list, the first list of tweets you generated will keep scrolling. However, they’re dimmed while the tweets with the additional keyword you choose will be highlighted.
On the other hand, I didn’t see that clicking on any words in the word cloud did anything, not even reloading the tweet stream.
I suppose it’s a bit weird of me, but I do like just doing a search and watching the tweets go by — I had to turn up the scrolling so that it was a bit faster than default. If you do use twendz I recommend you choose your own search terms; I found the trending terms had too much spam/useless content to be meaningful.