Local Media – Twitterers in Balham

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I’m becoming very interested in using the internet to bring local communities together. So here’s something else that I’ve built over the last few days.

About a week ago I saw Paul Carvill’s new site Twitian. It brings together all of the people from The Guardian who use Twitter and reposts their tweets. It’s an interesting way for people to find other people who might share their interests. I thought that it would be interesting to aggregate tweets on the basis of geography.

I contacted Paul and asked if he planned to release his code as open source. He said that he would, but that it wasn’t quite ready. But then I discovered the Perl Net::Twitter module and realised that it would be pretty simple to recreate a lot of what Twitian does. A couple of evenings of hacking and Balham Twits is ready to go.

It’s a pretty simple set-up. And I don’t do things quite the same way as Twitian. I’ve set up a new user on Twitter called balhamtwits and the site is generated using information about the people that user is following. One feature that I think is rather clever is that the program automatically follows anyone that follows it. So anyone can add themselves to the site by simply following balhamtwits. Of course that could lead to spam accounts being included automatically, so there’s a mechanism to manually remove and block undesirable accounts.

Anyway, I’ve put the code up on Github so that anyone else who wants to have a go can do so. It’s a surprisingly small amount of code. Of course, like all quickly hacked together projects, the documentation is a bit lacking. But I’ll work on that over the weekend. Honest.

Please let me know if you find it useful. And if you’re twittering in SW12, please follow balhamtwits.

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