Twitter knows it’s too big for the human mind to process. That’s why it adopted hashtags so early. Of every word everyone in the world is tweeting, hashtags allow quick categorization. Topics become neatly sorted into buckets, and the buckets that overflow are obvious trends. It’s all so tidy.
Tweetping scoffs in the face of simplicity and legibility, opting instead to celebrate what Twitter is: the shouting of every connected human being on Earth. By Franck Ernewein, Tweetping is a map that shows where everyone in the whole world is tweeting from in real time.
Much like Poptip’s treatment of Twitter, you’re not really meant to follow it all. Country-by-country tickers do track the total tweets, words, and characters sent since you signed on, but hashtags and @-mentions flash for milliseconds, constantly replaced by a stream of data that can’t be paused for a moment, lest the system fall perpetually behind. Meanwhile, the geolocations of each tweet make their way to a world map as a glowing dot. As the tweets pile up, so do the dots, meaning the world transforms from prehistoric shadows to blindingly bright connectivity in a matter of minutes.
Of course, after you’re enamored by the project for a while (and it really is worthy of a decent enamor), you’ll likely begin to crave some semblance of deeper understanding. Besides realizing that Africa tweets roughly one-tenth the amount we do in North America, there’s not much information to pull from all this, err, information. By adding just a few slower features, like the most-linked URLs and the most retweeted messages over the past minute, a huge amount of utility could be pulled from the mega stream of data. And that’s not even delving into what you could do with color mixing—each dot could have a whole chromatic language representing humor or hostility—anything you could analyze within language could become part of this map itself.
This is easier said than done, as every analysis takes time, and each analysis would pull you further and further from real time. I’m also not so certain we need to quantify these mass amounts of data in all contexts. What if Twitter felt like one-liners on your phone and amorphic blobs on your walls? We have no shortage of information. And soon, we may have no shortage of ways of experiencing that information, either.
[Hat tip: Infosthetics]