With Twitter's recent surge in popularity, I've been half expecting to see a corresponding surge in Twitter journalism akin to what happened when Facebook first grew popular.
However, I've yet to spot any juicy Twitter conspiracy theories spread all over the fronpages of mainstream papers like with Facebook (the kind that goes "Read all about journalists'/celebrities'/....' Secret Network", such as this spread). So I was delighted to read this post by Twittermaven (via Frode Stenström on Twitter) describing a tool which creates a brilliant network visualisation, very similar to in this story, for the people I talk to on Twitter... tadaa!:
If you follow this link to the result page you will find the surprising revelation that two of my employers are among my 20 best twitter friends (BFF) (or was when I first tried it, it keeps changing). Well, it's hard to find much news here, though I personally was suprised by some of the omissions on that list - I thought I was talking much more with Louise Bolotin for instance. Of course, the reason this whole conspiracy stuff falls flat when it comes to Twitter is that, in contrast to Facebook, Twitter's not a walled garden, which is why I find the latter a so much more useful tool than the former....
But back to this visualisation tool, which determines your top relationships based on reciprocal tweets. It has some really neat features, to quote Twittermaven:
In addition to providing your top 20 friends, Mailana will display the number of reciprocal conversations and it also provides a tag cloud of what you’ve spoken about with that person. Pretty cool and insightful. But the application goes even further, offering:
- Suggested new follower recommendations
- Your town’s social network
- People who talk about a specific subject
A tool like Mailana, as Twittermaven also points out, really brings home to what extent all our Twitter conversations are public and accessible to anyone. At times it does make me feel like retreating to somewhere like Facebook to say things I'd rather not share with the entire world, usually when I want to bitch about stupid ideas and more personal stuff. Except, since I have my ex, family, former colleagues etc as Facebook friends, that's often not such a good idea...
Update 21:23 CET: And of course, had I instantly clicked through to where Twittermaven found this tool, I would have discovered a story on ReadWriteWeb which has a rather simliar ring to the Facebok story I mentioned earlier in this post, "The Inner Circles of 10 Geek Heroes on Twitter" - what can I say?
I think, at least judging from my own Mailana results and experiences using Twitter, this kind of story can easily be rather misleading. Some of the people I do talk to quite a bit on Twitter did not show up in my Mailana results, and a few of the people who did show up in the visualised network are people I've had somewhat random conversations with because they happened to ask about something I knew a lot about or vice versa and not necessarily related to my beat...