Twittervision is mesmorising

I am not a Twitter user, nor do I particularly expect to become one since I don't actually comprehend who would want to monitor my regular updates on "What am I doing now?". Moreover, I don't have a particular fascination with monitoring what someone else is doing (unless of course they are working with/for me). Heaven forbid that my wife and I were to exchange details of our activities via Twitter - it's bad enough getting the daily summary ;-)

So, imagine my amazement when I had a glance at Twittervision, which was created by David Troy using Ruby on Rails in 4 hours, and was momentarily transfixed.

Quite simply, it's a real-time display of Twitter messages that are displayed on an interactive Google Map, which zooms to the location declared on the message. Now, I don't know any of the people whose messages where flashing up so there was no personal interest element here. Yet it was simply astonishing to see the volume of messages and their geographic dispersal flashing up as the graph zoomed round the world, not to mention the nature of the short "thought clips" from people around the World.

This will sound crazy but it was as if I was looking down from space and randomly reading the minds of people around the world. Different languages, time zones, interests, relative degrees of importance. It reminded me of a number of films where the star could listen in on peoples thought eg "What Women Want" with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt.

But then I would blink and realise that these people were publicly declaring what they were doing to anyone that happened to be listening (now also watching). No concern for privacy or preserving their anonymity - especially odd given the debate ranging about personal privacy and identity cards etc in the UK. It was true voyeurism.

But even more surreal was realising that this public declaration was actually being done in "private" i.e. they were emailing/SMS/IM from their phone and doing something which was not discernible or audible to those around them. Imagine doing the same but instead doing it audibly to those around you eg to other passengers on the bus/train/tube or in the street/cafe/bar/restaurant - they'd think you were (even more of) a nutter!

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posted by John Wilson @ 11:08 AM Permanent Link newsvine reddit


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