At the start of the my MA in Interactive Journalism at City (which will soon, sadly, draw to a close), my lecturer Paul Bradshaw introduced me to the wonders of IFTTT – that awesome site that lets you link basically any app to another and do some cool stuff with it.
It’s been fairly useful since I started using it – for example, I set up a ‘recipe’ to add a link in a tweet to Pocket when I favourite that tweet – making it a bit easier to save stuff so I can read it later.
And since I set it up at the start of the course, it’s a rich dataset of all the people who started following me once I started taking Twitter more, if not seriously, then slightly more professionally.
One of the more unusual ones I set up linked Twitter and Google Drive – it creates a new row in a Google sheet every time I get a new follower, with the date that person followed me, their handle, their bio, their website, their follower count, and so on. It’s kinda cool but I never really knew what to do with it.
Finally I got round to actually digging into it, and have done something very simple to try and get a better picture of the sorts of people who follow me – by making a simple wordcloud of all my new followers’ bios. Here it is!
To the surprise of absolutely no-one, it’s pretty journalist-heavy. If there’s any need for further proof that the media Twitter echo chamber is real, then this will help.
‘Music’ features pretty prominently in there, which is surprising as I never really tweet that much about music. Maybe it’s something to do with the tens of spammy band accounts that follow me. To my delight, ‘food’ and ‘coffee’ (two things that I like) make it in there.
It’s an interesting little thing to do, and it’s pretty easy to set up an IFTTT recipe and then forget about it. Basically it’s shown that my vague goal to get more journalists following me on Twitter, and generally appear like someone who knows about social/data has been reached somewhat.
Here’s the link to the spreadsheet, with the full data. If you can think of anything interesting I can do with the dataset, then let me know in the comments.