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Track breaking news on Twitter

Track breaking news on Twitter

Track breaking news on Twitter

If you use Twitter much you've probably noticed that it's pretty quick to react to breaking news, especially of the geek/tech variety but also increasingly sport and current affairs. The Twitter search engine, Summize (recently purchased by Twitter) has a neat feature called "Trending Topics" which shows a list of the most talked about terms on Twitter. It makes for interesting reading but it's not very practical to check it all the time. So the other day I cobbled together a Twitter bot that checks these topics periodically and Tweets new ones. Follow @trendingtopics to get the updates. There's also an RSS feed if you're interested. It's a very low tech solution and it's not guaranteed to work but it's been running for about a week and I've already found it quite useful. Among other things, it was how I found out about President Musharaf's resignation, Russia threatening to launch a nuclear attack on Poland, Russia invading Georgia and Twitter stopping SMS notifications in the UK. How it works: I used Dapper to 'scrape' search.twitter.com and output an RSS feed. I then tried to feed this into TwitterFeed but that didn't work because TwitterFeed requires each RSS item to have a date or a GUID. So, in an effort to stay with the web mash-up spirit I tried to use Yahoo! Pipes to copy the <link> of each RSS item into the <guid>. I nearly got it working but in the end I gave up and just used a custom PHP script on my website to do it. If there's demand I may improve the script to filter out very similar words (i.e. "Olympic" vs "Olympics") and keep track of historical trends but in the meantime, try it out and let me know how you get on.

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Dabbler
Hey Tamlyn, great work on setting this up (though all the technical wizadry is beyond me!!). I'm following the feed now, but one suggestion I'd put forward is that the subject is a little short (e.g. the most recent one at the moment reads just "New trending topic: Leroi Moore"). I've no idea who Leroi Moore is, so it would make me less likely to follow the link. I guess it's difficult to change this as it's a topic trend, rather than an article, but if you could add a bit more detail, it might make it more useful? Hope that makes sense?
Not applicable
I know what you mean but getting more context on each topic is quite tricky. It would require analysing the tweets that mention the term and finding patterns in them.