Will South Africa’s real Top Twits please stand up

Posted on July 25, 2011

Update : See the final list here : j-j.co.za/toptwits (updated monthly)

The Strategy Worx recently released their ‘Social Media in SA – The Numbers‘ Report for Quarter two. Makes some interesting reading. There is some discussion on Google Plus here.

In the report is a list of  the Top 20 South African twitter personalities. The list was interesting, but on reflection seemed to be missing some of the people who I would have expected to be in the report.  There appear to be some obvious missing ones eg. DJ Fresh 98 656 followers and Pigspotter (Cliff) with 61 000 Jack Parrow 22 281 Steven Pienaar (ok, he lives in the UK most of the time) 67 480 John Robbie 23 377, Bryan Habana 46 270 etc etc

I quickly posted a question on the discussion asking what was the selection criteria for this? After going back and reading the report more closely I found the reference : http://twitaholic.com/top100/following/bylocation/South%20Africa/

Going onto Twitaholic and playing a little gave some insight into the problem. The query used only picks you up if you list South Africa (Country), not City, Country (Eg. Durban South Africa).

This is very clear, Bruce Attridge in Durban, South Africa has 213 000 followers and is top of the Durban list, but doesn’t come up (would be 1st) in the South Africa query. Problem. Playing a bit more and you find that Durban, Durban South Africa and South Africa all produce different lists.

To top it all off, looking at the follower numbers shows some more problems. I am listed way down on the list (not that I have that many followers), but the numbers were vastly different from what Twitter shows as my followers. It seems the list is quite dated. If you click on a user, there is a button to “Update my Stats!” which can be used once a day. A manual process – though some numbers are more recent than others. Ok, so the data is flawed.

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Traffic twitterers and pig spotters

Posted on May 07, 2011

There are quite a number of different twitter accounts which can help you keep up to speed with what is happening on the roads around the country. Following a collection of these accounts really can make your life a whole lot more comfortable and relieve a lot of frustrations.

I have created a page listing my favourites. Since I am based in KZN most of the ones listed are from that region. Please feel free to leave more in the comments and I will add them to the list to keep it up to date regularly. For your convenience you can find a combined twitter list here : http://twitter.com/#!/jjza/traffic

The full list is here : www.j-j.co.za/pigspotters


ISACA South Africa is now on Twitter #in

Posted on August 05, 2010

ISACA South Africa is now live on Twitter.

We intend to see how we can use Twitter to promote ISACA South Africa and our activities, including the annual conference and the regional chapter meetings. Follow us to keep up to date on ISACA happenings, especially around the conference coming up next month (13-15th September).

Follow us at : www.twitter.com/isacaza and ISACA International here : www.twitter.com/ISACANews

And find ISACA South Africa’s website here :  www.isaca.org.za

Visualising twitter at Conferences / Interacting with the web

Posted on July 25, 2010

The ISACA South Africa Annual conference is coming up in a few months and I though it would be pretty cool if we could have some kind of real-time visualisations of what the twitterverse (or net) was saying about the conference.

So this morning I was reading up on how best to do this and the first article I came across was 5 Ways to Visualize Twitter at Events which was on the Event Manager Blog : http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/event-management/visualize-twitter-at-events

This starts by answering the questions “A lot of fuzz is being made about if tweets should be displayed at events or not. The answer is simple, Yes! And in a fancy way.” and then proceeds to list 5 options for methods/tools that can be used to achieve this, and gives some pro’s and con’s for each.

Based on this article and the followup comments I whipped through the tools to see what might be suitable and jotted down some of my own thoughts. These are still fairly preliminary and I need to do some more investigation into features being offered and the overall robustness of the solutions.

The 4 tools I took a look at were : visibletweets, wiffiti, twazzup and twitterfountain

The tool we use (if the concept is approved)  would probably run from a laptop with a projector attached and run in an unattended fashion. I wanted to be able to select a few keywords / #hashtags, have some kind of title (or instruction) on the page, be able to add a custom background, and have cool visualisations of the results. I suspect the display is also going to have to run over a 3G connection at the conference, so it will also need to be reasonably bandwidth friendly, but that will have to be tested at a later stage.

My thoughts based on this rough criteria for each of the  options is briefly noted below :

Visible Tweets (www.visibletweets.com) Sample link

  • Supports multiple keywords, tags, and exclusions
  • 3 visualisation options suited for conference projections (looks great) and full screen operation (unattended)
  • builds tag cloud which displays between tweets
  • displays profile picture of tweeter
  • simple to setup and custom URL
  • No header option or custom background
  • Doesn’t seem to support twitpic or other picture services
  • Can make use of TidyTweet service to have filtered/moderated tweets (and prevent profanity/embarassment), $10 /month for non-personal use

Conclusion : Fairly good option, quick and easy to set up, would be better with a bit more customisation and twitpic support

Wiffiti (www.wiffiti.com)   sample link

  • Allows custom background to be uploaded
  • Custom title can be set
  • Does censorship (can set rating level)
  • Allows multiple tags
  • Can use pictures from flickr with tags
  • Displays tweets with profile picture, tags and location
  • Accepts mesages directly from website
  • Accepts SMS however is USA based short message code, not clear if could get a South African number
  • Easy to set up, however required signup to “publish” the screen and save it
  • Visualisation looks pretty good with multiple messages onscreen at once, full screen option

Conclusion : Very professional looking service, definitely one that could do the job.

Twazzup (www.twazzup.com) Sample Link

  • looks good in a browser for individual use but doesn’t seem suitable for conference projection
  • breaks the page up into different sections giving Highlights, Community Influencers, Live pictures, News, Twitter stream.
  • No custom headers or backgrounds
  • Seems to displays pictures (twitpic etc)
  • Lists common links

Conclusion : This is great way to get a view on a topic, but not for conference projection

Twitterfountain (www.twitterfountain.com) Sample link

  • does pictures in background, tweets scaled flying into background
  • gives twitter profile picture, name, tweet
  • link to blog top right (cant seem to remove)
  • banner across top (defaults to twitterfountain) and can be customised / removed
  • options for how messages animated
  • background image allowed
  • can change size of tweets and how they are displayed
  • fullscreen option
  • The URL generated for the fountain doesn’t contain all of the settings so these would have to be set up again each time

Conclusion : Also a viable option, not quite up to wiffiti, and I prefer the visualisation of visibletweets (although twitterfountain has far better customisation and does support the custom backdrops and banner whereas visibletweets doesn’t)

Summary (for now)

Each of these products is great in its own right, having a time and place where it may be the most suitable. For the conference I would tend to think either visibletweets (using tidytweet) or wiffiti would be the best options, though twitterfountain still needs a bit more investigation. More to come later.

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