This is one of those fun days where I’ve just sorta had news paralysis. A lot of my work today (yes, I’ve had a bit of work here and there) had me offline, so catching updates here and there of all the crazy news of the day has been interesting, to say the least.
The one real story today that made me sit and think for a while was something Scoble said about getting a handle on trending topics via Twitter. He was speaking in the context of the Steve Jobs resignation and the absolute deluge of Twitters on the topic.
It was truly amazing the amount of buzz that was screaming across the network. Like Scoble said, there were hundreds (if not thousands), of tweets screaming by every minute. Here’s part what Robert said in reference to that:
If you aren’t online there’s no “warning” system that something is happening. I wish I could tell Twitter to SMS me whenever a “high flow” event is underway.
It made me ponder. This would be a pretty easy tool to launch, using the Twitter search API, which as far as I know, doesn’t have any major limitations on it like the main Twitter API has. Creating a system that polls the API for the trending items and then will send out SMS alerts based on changes based on velocity is a pretty simple task.
According to the Twitter search API, you can pull down trends only as a JSON feed, which rules out using Yahoo Pipes for a quick and easy mashup, but with a little PHP code, you can grab the file and store it in a database (or even a text file), and make comparisons on how long an item sits there and how quickly it’s shot up the ranks.
It would take a little tweaking, but it’s definitely worth pursuing for someone with a little more spare time than I do to whip up a quick app (you can just name it after me or something).