In Progress: The Ins and Outs of Building a Media Activity Tracking Tool for Twitter |
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Building a Media-Activity Analysis Tool for Twitter

In Progress: The Ins and Outs of Building a Media Activity Tracking Tool for Twitter

With my Twitter Developer application officially approved, I’m one step closer toward building a media activity tracking tool using Twitter’s API.

I’ve branded this forthcoming tool as “Vistorylizer,” which pairs the idea of visual (brand) storytelling (“vistory”) with a metrics-inspired “lizer” phrase to emphasize the media tracking for visual storytelling angle as nimbly as possible.

Because ultimately, that’s what Vistorylizer sets out to do; by leveraging the Twitter API, Vistorylizer:

  • scans any public-facing Twitter account’s media activity to …
  • determine near real-time patterns and relevant media-sharing data.

Why is this media tracking important, valuable, or helpful?

The short answer is that this helps identify the level of visual storytelling activity being used by any given public-facing Twitter account.

The level of media activity of an account, in turn, sheds light on VOLUME of media in terms of visual storytelling.

This, in turn, helps to answer the following question:

How much video and image-based content is being used by a public-facing Twitter account to visually communicate their themed ideas and brand messaging?

And the answer to the above-asked question is vital in terms of gaging how much visual communication (in terms of both volume AND format) is or will be needed to “compete” with another brand, at least specifically on Twitter.

Because right now, Vistorylizer only works on Twitter.

While I often do wonder about how Vistorylizer might track media activity on public-facing Facebook and Instagram accounts, the level of development effort is too costly for me to embark on as this is a personal passion project of mine that I’ve privately funded.

Therefore, for the time being and for the unforeseeable future, Vistorylizer only works with/on public-facing accounts on Twitter.

So what does media activity tracking actually mean?

Media activity (specific to Twitter) is the (voluminous, average, or infrequent) use of video and image-based content to convey an idea or content theme by a public-facing Twitter account.

The latter is made possible through Vistorylizer‘s integration of Twitter’s API, which gleans (up to) 7-days worth of data results per tracking request for free.

It’s notable to point out that because Vistorylizer analyzes media activity exclusive on Twitter, the data it analyzes is limited to whatever Twitter itself defines as media and media-related activity.

Why build exclusively for Twitter?

It made sense to integrate Vistorylizer with Twitter’s platform for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Twitter is conducive to global conversations in real-time
  • Global conversations, in turn, facilitate the propagation of media as an integral part of network communications
  • The Twitter API is both media-friendly, accessible, and configurable enough to meet my vision for media-search criteria

Who cares about media-activity analysis?

Well, as a media and cyberpsychologist myself, I do 🙂

That means I:

  • … concern myself with matters pertaining to media, including media construction, media interactions, and media distribution;
  • … care about how media is produced, consumed, and shared across mediated technologies; and
  • … am interested in semiotics (the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation) and how they’re used in visual storytelling

The media research possibilities with a tool like Vistorylizer are exciting and will help me, and others with similar media activity interests, explore how media (on Twitter) is being produced, interacted with, and shared in near real-time.

I can’t wait to share Vistorylizer with you once it’s launched.

Stay tuned.

~ Mayra

Photo credit: ©Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

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