Twitter can be a great tool for keeping up with friends as well as finding information and sharing content, but it can also be a lot of fun. Because of its popularity, tools have sprung up to enhance this fun side of Twitter by visualizing the wealth of information that the service has to offer. Below are a few options for visualizing your tweets.
For a simple overview of your Twitter data, Foller.me offers a simple page that displays basic account information and statistics at the top with various visualization at the bottom of the screen, including a tag cloud of frequent topics, a collection of avatar images for Twitter accounts that most frequently mention the user and a bar graph of the times at which the user most frequently posts. While it is currently not functional, Foller.me also plans to reintroduce a mapping feature that will show the location of the user’s followers. Foller.me makes this wide array of data easy to understand and visually engaging, which makes it a good option for those who want to understand the patterns at work in a Twitter account whether it is an individual’s personal account or, perhaps even more usefully, an institutional account. (Special thanks to Jan Holmquist for introducing me to Foller.me).
If you just can’t wait for Foller.me to reintroduce their map feature, Twittermap allows users to have their Twitter search results displayed on a world map. Each tweet is shown as a pin on the map and hovering over the individual pin displays the full tweet. The location of each pin is based on the location associated with the account that sent the tweet rather than the actual location from which the tweet was sent, but even with this limitation, Twittermap gives a nice overview of the distribution of users who are participating in a conversation.
Looking for a unique way to display relevant tweets? Visible Tweets animates the results of a Twitter search in a way that is perfect for display on a large screen. The results can be displayed letter by letter, rotated each time a new tweet is added to the animation or aggregated into a tag cloud. This app is perfect for use in presentations or during events to display relevant tweets in an engaging and eye-catching way. A version is also available for tweets in Japanese. I found this tool to be a fun way to display tweets in front of an audience.
For those who are looking for photos to match their interests, Portwiture offers a unique visual representation of all the user’s tweets by pulling pictures from Flickr. It does this by matching popular phrases from a user’s tweets with keywords from photo descriptions on Flickr. While this might not be the most useful Twitter tool that is out there, it is a fun way to find (and share since tweeting the images is simple) photos that match your interests.
With all of these options, Twitter users have a wide, and ever-expanding, range of options for viewing their Twitter interactions. And, besides being a fun new approach to tweets, frequent Twitter users will likely find that they learn a lot about how they use Twitter by using these visualization tools.