TwittStorm: The Fastest Way to Monitor Twitter Conversations

Breaking news is what Twitter does best. Whenever something huge happens both users and journalists turn to tweets to find out exactly what’s happening and to get pictures or videos. Monitoring this live stream of events is important to the media and companies that have a reputation to uphold. There are many services which offer this, including Twitter themselves; the search function can be a quick way to get hold of popular tweets on a story or event. However, they’re often lacking.

TwittStorm is a new take on monitoring Twitter in realtime, one that looks great and is fast enough that it seems more promising than most Twitter apps. Let’s take it for a spin and see how it holds up.

What Does TwittStorm Do?

Well first, let’s differentiate between what TwittStorm and the Twitter search function do. On Twitter, a search will reveal tweets which have been retweeted and favourited. This is helpful for finding authoritative tweets on a subject such as the opinions of popular tweeters. It’s not so good when you need updates fast.

Popular subjects on the homescreen

Popular subjects on the homescreen

On Twittstorm the homescreen will show popular keywords currently receiving a lot of tweets on Twitter. Twittstorm offers a realtime feed of any keyword a user might need to make inquiries about. So for example, by searching the word ‘Yankees’ you’ll receive a live feed of every tweets containing that word, not just popular tweets.

Twittstorm isn’t simply a script with a pretty face. It uses Twitter’s stream API directly so it’s fast and reliable. If it’s posted on Twitter, Twittstorm gets the tweet straight away no matter what.

Features

The most noticeable thing about Twitstorm is how fast it updates. The application is constantly scanning Twitter for new tweets based on your search term. While for most items this is fine, I found keeping track of things could be difficult when there was a ‘Twittstorm’ on a specific keyword with over 120 tweets appearing per minute. Of course, you can always use the pause button to put everything on hold and read what has already appeared in the feed.

A 'Yankees' Twittstorm

A ‘Yankees’ Twittstorm

As you can see, tweets do not appear as a list as in other similar apps. They appear is a movable grid format; as each new tweets appears the rest move down the screen. The menu buttons act as tweets too moving as each new tweet appears. When they eventually get pushed off the screen they’ll reappear alongside new tweets entering from the top.

Tweets are, of course, clickable and will open a new tab and bring you to that tweet on Twitter. At first I was a little disappointed that it didn’t simply expand the tweet to view more information or a preview of an embedded picture. However after a while I found navigating to Twitter to be a much better option as it lets you view the tweeter’s profile, follow them or check out any media using Twitter’s stable picture preview.

Because the set-up is quite simplistic there’s no need to register. Although this does mean the inability to retweet or otherwise interact with tweets from Twittstorm itself, it does mean it’s quick and easy for anyone to check out what’s going on in the world. Different search terms are categorized into different ‘storm strengths’ to gauge just how much activity is happening on Twitter. For example, popular subjects such as ‘iPhone’ or ‘Obama’ will almost always be in the TwittStorm category – the highest. From here we proceed down through ‘storm’ and ‘gale’ to ‘breeze’ which is reserved for the calmest subjects.

Share a storm on Twitter, g+ or Facebook

Share a storm on Twitter, g+ or Facebook

The share buttons allow you to share the results of a search on Twitter, Facebook or Twitter. In the text of the share it’ll also post which wind force the subject is rating on Twittstorm, as you can see above.

Design

Without a doubt, TwittStorm is the best looking tool for monitoring Twitter.

The visual effects and the background animations immediately set Twittstorm away from the crowd. Behind the grid view of tweets there is constantly changing clump of fluffy white clouds blowing around – the ferocity of the wind of course depending on the ferocity of the ‘TwittStorm’.

TwittStorm is almost entirely blue, and their unique moving grid layout features translucent ‘tweets’ shifting using Javascript. Other than basic options, share buttons and a link to the Twittstorms homepage, the design is quite minimal. This is of course a good thing as the main attraction here is the constantly updating stream of tweets.

Final Thoughts

There are other Twitter streams available but I don’t think any either look as good as Twittstorm or are as user friendly. When push comes to shove, Twittstorm isn’t for the power user to analyse emerging trends simply because it struggles with large amounts of tweets in a short space of time. However, it is the best for sharing how a story is actually emerging on social media; to tweet the popularity level of a story.

Overall I like TwittStorm. It’s a quick and easy to use tool for monitoring Twitter that doesn’t require your account information.


Summary

TwittStorm is a real-time tweet visualizing website. You setup your TwittStorm for a certain keyword and get a personalized page in a cool design which constantly loads in all related tweets coming in as you watch the page. It is free, you do not have to register for it and works with any keyword. A tweet generating 12 tweets a minute is called a Breeze, with up to 30 tweets per minute it is a Gale and everything with 120 tweets per minute or more is called a TwittStorm. The start page of www.twittstorm.com informs you about the current TwittStorms going on. TwittStorm makes use of the Twitter Streaming API, allowing to receive real time tweets from around the world.

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