The Archivist: Archiving tweets to provide awesome insight

The Archivist: Archiving tweets to provide awesome insight

As Twitter matures, and the information that travels through it gains popularity and importance, more ideas keep popping up on how to use that information. The most recent, and one of the coolest we’ve seen, is called The Archivist.

The Archivist is a partnership project between Plexipixel and Microsoft’s web design and developer community team MIX Online. For a really in depth understanding of what The Archivist does, I suggest reading the blog over at the MIX website.

The Cliff’s Notes version looks something like this – you head to The Archivist and type in a word or phrase. Then this happens:

  • Tracks tweets and archives key words throughout the entire Twittersphere.
  • Analyzes the data and provides six visualizations.
  • Exports archives via excel or .zip, for more thorough analysis or data mining.
  • And developers can even download the datasets of top users for a given archive to include in their own projects and applications.

Understanding that The Archivist can’t go back in time, it’s important to realize what it does. The Archivist will take a search term or phrase and start a long-term collection of data about it. You can then come back at any time and view not only the raw data and tweets, but also some graphs that have been built from what it found.

And what does it find? According to the website, The Archivist keeps track of these areas:

  • Volume Over Time
  • Top Users
  • Tweet vs. Retweet
  • Top Words
  • Top Urls
  • Source Of Tweet

Then, when you go back to look at the results, you’ll see things like this result for the tracking of the word “flood”:

The question that immediately comes to mind, however, is what you can do with it. I had to figure that out for myself, and then it became really clear. Let’s say, for instance, that a company starts out a new branding campaign over Twitter. What better way to get an idea of how the campaign is sticking than to look at metrics of that campaign over a period of time.

Or let’s say that Apple is releasing a new product. Watching how that product comes up in conversation over a period can certainly give some insight as to how successful the product might be. As I started to come up with more use cases for The Archivist, the true genius of the application begins to shine.

Give it a shot, and let us know what you think. Personally, I think it’s brilliant, and a great use of information that we’re presently letting blow into the wind.

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