Always fascinated by a catchy graphic, especially one that moves, I could help but investigate the cool, free Twitter visualization tools in the MakeUseOf article by Ryan Dube (link here). These tools offer an different view on the connections, conversations and relationships on Twitter. This is information that is not readily apparent from a glance at the tweet stream, but jumps off the page when you run your request through these third party apps.
The first app I tried is Mentionmap (link here). Simply type in a Twitter username, ANY Twitter username, and get a floating, sprouting, dynamic map of nodes branching out from that username to other users and hashtags the original user frequently links to or mentions. Type a name, navigate to a floating node and a new bunch of nodes will take front and center and spring up from the name. An interesting way to browse through a users stream of influence and interest. Check out my Mentionmap below:
The next app I tried was the Twitter Friends Network Browser (link here). This app allows you to enter aTwitter username and see another node-based map of several of the most recently added friends. Click on one of these friends and the map shifts, showing their friends. Drag the nodes around so that you can keep browsing further and further, investigating the neural net of Twitter connections, node by node.
Very cool way to browse.
To compare my network to someone else’s, I tested TwiAngulate (link here). This app performs some interesting analysis of your network and measures it against another to find mutual followers and friends, big follows, influential follows, obscure friends, and other metrics. If you are interested in keeping a close watch on your sprouting Twitter garden, this app would make a most excellent pruning and cultivating tool.
The last app highlighted was one I found less useful than the ones above. It’s called Twitter Venn (link here) and it creates a Venn diagram of keyword search terms. Not that it isn’t useful, but I found the combinations I chose didn’t necessarily show the overlap I was hoping for. I guess, then, it really was helpful to show that no one was tweeting about iPads, apps and lawyers all in the same 140 characters.
All in all, these are interesting builds on Twitter’s API, filling in some of the informational gaps the Twitter interface lacks. Thanks, Mr. Dube, for providing me with sufficient browsing fodder to get me off my work track for almost an hour.