About SeeTweet

What's SeeTweet? SeeTweet is a Twitter/Google Maps mashup that plots the most recent tweets containing a word or phrase in the United States. In its basic form, it plots the 50 most recent tweets (less if not enough people have tweeted recently) containing the search term. The advanced search allows you to increase this to 100 or 200 tweets.

What's the point of SeeTweet? Well, I'm a linguist interested in dialectical variation in American English, especially syntactic variation. I'm especially interested in identifying the geographic range of certain variants. However, SeeTweet isn't limited to dialectical variation; the SeeTweet tumblr gives examples of other applications, such as road mapping, brand tracking, and weather reporting. Don't let my interests stop you from doing something else with SeeTweet. And if you do something neat with SeeTweet, let me know.

How does it work? SeeTweet's core architecture is pretty simple. When you enter a search term, it sends a request through the Twitter API to return the most recent tweets containing your search term. It then extracts the self-reported user locations for the account that made each tweet. With the list of locations in hand, SeeTweet uses the Google Maps API for geocoding -- identifying latitude and longitude for each location. (Some common locations are plotted without using Google Maps.) The geocoded tweets are then plotted on the map as translucent red dots. Multiple tweets from a single location increase the opacity of the red dot.


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