On NBCOlympics.com, the official site for Winter Games coverage, there’s a Twitter application called the “Olympic Twitter Tracker.” I recently discovered this thanks to a tweet from Marshall Kirkpatrick, who said it was “pretty cool.” If he thinks so, then I definitely had to check it out. And indeed it is.
Unlike many Twitter trackers, this one doesn’t just stream the tweets in a big, unwieldy flow. It’s not just one window that aggregates everything tagged “Olympics.” Instead, the interface to the application uses images to display the various topics being tweeted about and sizes them proportionally to the number of tweets. Obviously, the sports and other keywords associated with the events occurring now will have larger sections and those past will be smaller. In addition, within each section, other popular keywords appear for even more granular filtering of the Twitter stream. So if you’re interested in snowboarding tweets but only those about “Shaun White,” for example, that’s an option.
When you click into any of these sections, the Twitter stream appears on the left with related keywords on the right. So if you click “Evan Lysacek” you’ll see keywords like “gold,” “men,” “skating,” “wins,” etc. (Yep, as you may have guessed, he won a gold medal.) The Tracker even has a bar at the top that counts down until its next automatic refresh – every minute. That’s better than a live stream since it gives you a chance to actually read what’s in front of you, but it’s still fast enough to keep you up-to-date in near real-time.
Also at the top is a link to “Olympic Tweets” for even more types of tweets. These are sorted by different categories like tweets from the athletes, tweets from the NBCOlympics.com Twitter account, tweets from the Olympics Health Twitter account, and “All.”
The entire Twitter app is part of the larger “Olympic Pulse” – the app that tracks the blogs, tweets, and other news from the Olympics. You can check out the entire Olympic Pulse here.