Cork tech group develops statistics service for Twitter


A CORK collective of programmers has attracted international attention this week with the launch of TweetRush, a free web-based statistics service for social networking website Twitter.

Updated every 15 minutes, TweetRush provides information like the number of people posting to Twitter daily, the volume of messages generated, top posters and number of active users.

Designed as both a showcase and a test for Cork technology collective Gogozaa, TweetRush's figures suggest that, while Twitter has an active and engaged community, it is not as popular as previously thought. Since July 21st, when the service first began tracking activity on Twitter, it has tracked an average of 720,000 messages posted to the service each day from 165,000 users.

Earlier this summer, when Twitter was regularly unavailable due to the volume of people trying to use it, it was reported that Twitter was processing over three million messages a day, a claim that was not contested by its creators. AJ McKee, lead developer with Gogozaa, says the positive reaction was "surprising".

The team of five developers launched the service to showcase Rush Hour, an analytics engine it has developed that monitors activity on websites for their owners.

"We needed to test Rush Hour against high volume sites," says McKee. "We picked Twitter because it gets a lot of traffic and is very high-profile."

Twitter was created by San Francisco-based company Obvious and launched in March 2006. It enables users to post short messages of 140 characters, the limit of mobile phone text messages, that can be viewed by anyone who has chosen to subscribe or "follow" them. Twitter and similar services are known as "micro-blogging" platforms as they let users quickly update their followers or point them to information they find useful.

US presidential hopeful Barack Obama has been using the service to communicate with his supporters, while British prime minister Gordon Brown provided Twitter updates during his US visit last April.

TweetRush is not the first Twitter application from Cork to attract attention.

TwitterFone allows users to call a dedicated phone number and have their messages automatically transcribed to Twitter. TwitterFone is headed up by Cork entrepreneur Pat Phelan of MaxRoam.