Simon Willison’s Weblog

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Twitter API: What is the best data storage mechanism and client library for analysing tweets using Python?

It depends on how much data you intend to collect, and how you intend to then share that data.

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Is there a way of tracking shortened URLs with Twitter streaming API?

Think about it like this: the whole point of the Twitter streaming API is to get you the tweets as soon after they are posted as possible. If the API were to provide access to the lengthened URLs, it would have to delay emitting a Tweet on to the stream until a resolver had gone through each shortened URL in the tweet and checked to find what it redirects to. This would mean that the speed with which the streaming API could deal out tweets would be dependent on the speed of the third party servers that serve up the redirects. I doubt Twitter would ever want to implement this.

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The science of the hashtag. Interesting analysis of how the #lessambitiousmovies hash tag took off thanks to retweets from a couple of key users with very creative followers. # 14th January 2011, 4:02 am

How do Twitter apps handle username changes?

Twitter assigns each user a unique numeric ID which does NOT change when the user’s Twitter name changes, so triic number one is to key off that, not the username itself.

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How do you correctly send the oauth_verifier parameter using python-oauth2 and the Twitter API?

This seems relevant: http://groups.google.com/group/t...

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Are there any well-known websites that use Facebook connect or Twitter OAuth as the only sign-in solution without its own sign-in password?

Our site http://lanyrd.com/ only accepts Twitter OAuth logins (at least for the moment).

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Is it possible to link to a Twitter user’s page with their user_id instead of their screen name?

You could always build your own URL to do this as part of your own application—something like http://your-twitter-app.example.... which does a Twitter API lookup for that user and then redirects to http://twitter.com/their-twitter.... You can cache the ID-to-screen-name lookups that you’ve made in the past (not forever though, remember people occasionally change their screen names).

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Does Twitter use a 3rd party software for rate limiting their APIs? If yes, who’s the 3rd party?

I wrote up a technique for doing simple rate limiting using memcached a while ago, which I later found out was somewhat similar to how the Twitter API does it.

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WebKit is Dropping HTML5 “popstate” Events (via) Really nasty bug with WebKit’s pushState support, discovered by Ben Cherry from Twitter. popState events get dropped if the user navigates while an outbound network request is in progress. # 30th October 2010, 7:41 am

Twitter.com 2010 Redesign: What things don’t people like about #newTwitter?

I absolutely love the improved functionality, but I don’t like the way it’s implemented as a heavy single-page JavaScript application. It’s extremely slow to load, which is a big problem for me because I habitually open new tabs with e.g. twitter.com/username in them, and each of those tabs now takes far longer to load and show me information than old Twitter did (especially since I’ve been suffering on very slow hotel WiFi connections recently).

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While I don’t expect Twitter to master its own destiny as far as the decentralization of the medium goes, I do support the idea, and I hope that Twitter as a business can coexist with the need for the world to have a free, open, reliable, and verifiable way for humans to instantly communicate in a one-to-many fashion.

Alex Payne # 16th September 2010, 11:07 am

RasterWeb: Lanyrd. Pete Prodoehl calls me out on Lanyrd’s integration with the Twitter auth API at the expense of OpenID. I’ve posted a comment with my justification—essentially, tying to Twitter’s ecosystem means I can actually implement the features I’ve been talking about building on top of OpenID for years, with far less engineering effort. # 31st August 2010, 8:49 pm

Lanyrd—the social conference directory. Nat and my new project, launched today and doing pretty well despite some early server hiccups. Sign in with Twitter to see conferences that your friends are speaking at, attending or tracking, then add your own events. We’re particularly keen on helping people build up a detailed profile of their previous talks, so adding older conferences is encouraged. # 31st August 2010, 7:41 pm

A little deeper investigation showed that nothing I had posted on Buzz had gone public since August 6. Nothing. [...] No one noticed. Not even me. It makes me feel like everything I’ve posted over the past four years on Twitter, Jaiku, Friendfeed, Plurk, Pownce, and, yes, Google Buzz, has been an immense waste of time. I was shouting into a vast echo chamber where no one could hear me because they were too busy shouting themselves.

Leo Laporte # 22nd August 2010, 6:43 pm

simplegeo’s python-oauth2. The Python OAuth library scene is frighteningly complicated at the moment. This seems to be the most actively maintained, and the readme includes working example code for talking to the Twitter API (including integration with Django auth). # 18th July 2010, 5:22 pm

Twitter is an open, real-time introduction and information service. On a daily basis we introduce millions to interesting people, trends, content, URLs, organizations, lists, companies, products and services. These introductions result in the formation of a dynamic real-time interest graph. At any given moment, the vast network of connections on Twitter paints a picture of a universe of interests. We follow those people, organizations, services, and other users that interest us, and in turn, others follow us.

Dick Costolo # 25th May 2010, 4:54 pm

Realtime Election Tweets. Jay Caines-Gooby’s realtime election tweet service, using Node.js, nginx and WebSocket with a Flash fallback. # 6th May 2010, 9:20 pm

Twitter is turning itself from a social network into a gigantic tuple-space pubsub platform that just happens to have a big social network implemented on top of it.

Daniel Lucraft # 17th April 2010, 5:23 pm

twitter’s gizzard (via) Intriguing new open source project from Twitter. Gizzard is a sharding framework which provides a network service for partitioning data across arbitrary backend datastores, managing its own forwarding table to map key ranges to partitions and adding support for tree-based replication. # 11th April 2010, 9:39 pm

Twitter, reformatted. I wrote a Yahoo! Pipe to clean up Twitter’s RSS feeds—removing the username prefix and filtering out items that begin with “@” or “RT”.. # 18th March 2010, 1:10 am

twitter-text-conformance (via) This is a neat idea: Twitter have released open source libraries for parsing standard tweet syntax in Ruby and Java, but they’ve also released a set of YAML unit tests aimed at anyone who wants to implement the same parsing logic in other languages. # 6th February 2010, 3:39 pm

Follow a Museum day. It’s follow a museum on Twitter day. Useful directory of museum Twitter accounts around the world, organised by country. # 1st February 2010, 11:15 am

russell davies: datadecs. Personalised christmas decorations made from data from Twitter, Doppler, last.fm and Flickr. The Twitter snowman came from a 3D printer—the size of the head varies depending on your number of followers. Best of all though is the Flickr decoration which represents the apertures you’ve used over the past year. # 7th January 2010, 9:58 pm

Self-Proclaimed Social Media Gurus on Twitter Multiplying Like Rabbits (via) 15,740 of them, including 2,091 social media consultants, 807 social media experts, 445 social media gurus and 68 social media stars. # 4th January 2010, 1:49 am

Going evented with Node.js. Comprehensive Node.js tutorial—from basic principles to installation and writing a simple Twitter search command-line client application. # 17th November 2009, 1:09 pm

The Secret Identity of the Peep Show Tweeter. Like many others, I had assumed the Peep Show character accounts were “official”—especially when they started live-tweeting their thoughts in real time as the episodes were aired. Turns out it was actually a very clever fan. # 30th October 2009, 6:46 pm

Comcast: Twitter Has Changed The Culture Of Our Company. “Frank Eliason (@Comcastcares on Twitter) now has 11 people working under him simply to respond to information about Comcast being broadcast on Twitter.” # 21st October 2009, 9:56 am

Simon Willison (simonw) on Twitter. I just realised I’ve never actually linked to my Twitter account on my blog. This is mainly an experiment to see if doing so makes my follower count go up... # 29th September 2009, 9:49 pm

When we get the tools to do distributed Twitter, etc., we get the tools to communicate in stanzas richer than those allowed by our decades-old email clients. Never mind Apple being anti-competitive, social networks are the peak of monopolistic behaviour today.

Blaine Cook # 13th August 2009, 1:06 pm

tr.im is “discontinuing service”. “However, all tr.im links will continue to redirect, and will do so until at least December 31, 2009.Your tweets with tr.im URLs in them will not be affected.”—these statements seem to contradict themselves. Will tr.im URLs in tweets stop working after December 31st or not? Any chance they could hand the domain over to the Internet Archive? At any rate, this is exactly why centralised URL shorteners are a harmful trend. # 10th August 2009, 11:06 am