Map your Twitter friends and followers with Yahoo! pipes

One of the annoying things about working in digital is that you regularly have, what you think is, a great and original idea only to have your bubble burst 5 seconds later thanks to a quick search on Google.

I was thinking this evening how I may go about designing a Feltronian (yeah that’s right I just made up a word) style annual report at the end of the year and it neatly crossed over with me wasting time, as I often do, on Twitter. It crossed my mind that it would be interesting to plot my Twitter friends and followers onto a global map to see what sort of pattern it makes, much like an analytics package (such as Google Analytics) does with site visitors.

Five annoying seconds later and I discover a neat Yahoo! Pipes mashup care of Andy Murdoch of Mmmeeja (3 “M”s, 2 “E”s, a “J” and an “A”) that does exactly that. The mashup allows you to visualise both your friends and followers, the example below highlights all the people I currently follow.

A snapshot of my twitter friends geodata

A snapshot of my twitter friends geodata

This is a really neat execution of a simple idea and another example of a ‘Pipes’ success. It currently limits the output to just 100 friends/followers and handily strips out anyone how doesn’t disclose they’re location. The map can be output as a badge for inclusion on your own website, unfortunately when trialing this I found it pretty unstable to opted for the snapshot above instead.

I personally don’t see much point in adding this sort of content to a website as it holds little benefit for a user and would more than likely have a negative impact on their experience. For example my ‘friends’ map shows that I’m pretty Anglo-centric when it comes to following people but in contrast my followers are far more diverse, but what benefit does this information hold for the visitors to this blog?

In my opinion the real benefit of this tool is to leave it where it is, Yahoo! Pipes, and periodically use it to get a snap shot of the internationalisation of my followers. In theory this could potentially lead me to alter the nature of my tweets to better accommodate my followers nationality, for example link to location specific news stories or even Americanise my spelling.

Realistically I’m not going to make these kinds of drastic changes anytime soon but its a possible consideration for the ever swelling number of corporate Twitterers out there. If you want to follow me on Twitter I’ll be more than happy to see you popup on my map sometime soon. Maybe we should call them Twaps, or perhaps not.


2 thoughts on “Map your Twitter friends and followers with Yahoo! pipes

  1. Hi Paul, I’m glad you like the pipe – I’m working on a version two that should have a whole bunch of improvements. Hopefully, I should have it ready sometime next week.

    Thanks for the great write-up.


  2. No problem Andy, keep up the good work. Its a great mashup, I look forward to seeing the improvements you’re going to make.


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