RB Search Gizmos

RB Search Gizmos: Make Location-Based Twitter Search Easy With Pam’s Pin

I have finally gotten far enough along with my JavaScript lessons that I could make a tool to address a frequent search annoyance: Twitter’s location-based search.

Did you know you could do a Twitter search by location? You might not know about it because as a search feature it’s unwieldy; you have to enter a lat/long pair to specify a specific address you want to search. Few people wander around with lots of lat/long pairs in their head. Sure, you can go look up a lat/long for an address but that’s time-consuming and, as I said, annoying. So Pam’s Pin (named for its inspiration, Pam Baker) does it for you. Pam’s Pin is available at https://pams-pin.glitch.me/ .


Enter an address, and the radius (in km) around the address that you’d like to search for tweets. It is possible to spoof location information, so you can also specify that your tweet results come only from verified Twitter accounts.

Once you click the button, Pam’s Pin will use an API call to translate the address you entered to a lat/long pair, will populate a Twitter search URL with the location data and your other options, and finally will open the Twitter search URL in a new window:

Pam’s Pin is the project I applied to the Bellingcat Tech Fellowship with. As far as features are concerned this is version .0000001. In Google Sheets, where I can just install APIs without worrying about code, I have a much more sophisticated version of Pam’s Pin that includes local features as noted by Wikipedia, street maps and links to various location-based data collections. I was also figuring out how to use map APIs to build lists of local street names for a hyperlocal news search. Still working on that.

I would like to bring all that to a Web-based tool, but I have to get some more learning under my belt if I’m going to do it on my own. I suspect this is going to be something I tinker with occasionally and update you on as I get more features to work.  In the meantime I find just being able to directly search Twitter by address instead of having to go look up a lat/long to be pretty useful in itself!

I need to think about organizing, too. The tools I’ve been creating are things that I make  because I want to use them. I do many searches a day — dozens? hundreds? I’m sure it’s hundreds sometimes — and I’m always thinking about little shortcuts and geegaws to make my life easier. Everything I’ve made has gone straight to my bookmarks bar, but since I’ve got about three dozen more ideas waiting in the wings, I need to either put them somewhere or get a bigger bookmarks bar. WordPress is not very embedded-JavaScript friendly and I don’t need to host everything on Glitch. I also need to make them look nicer.

Have you hipped to the fact that I have no damn idea what I’m doing? Still, maybe this little bit of appified knowledge will make your search life easier.



1 reply »

  1. Nice. It apparently works with cities outside the US. I tried it with Haifa, Israel, just with the city name, and got results.

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