Class Projects - Fall 2013


Buzz uses Twitter to discover pop culture trends within or between cities.

Buzz is a proof of concept technology that uses Twitter to discover pop culture trends within or between cities.
What it does

Buzz is a data exploration application that uses geo-located Tweets to help users discover trending pop culture topics within a city or to compare trending topics between cities. Through the project’s Explore page, users can see trending pop culture topics across cities and compare their relevance to each city. An interactive chart shows the percentage of tweets originating from different sections of the city. Buzz’s Discover page allows users to focus on and learn more about the relatively unique media content of a particular city. A “View More” button presents users with a collage of relatively unique pop culture terms that are trending in that city.

Buzz was build to improve on Knight Lab’s Neighborhood Buzz.

How it works

The key technology behind Buzz is the pop culture keyword harvester. Buzz harvests keywords by routinely scanning the content of sites like and Wikipedia and extracting the names of musicians and actors. The generated list of keywords is matched against tweets from Twitter. Keywords returning false positives are filtered out; Keywords returning relevant, localized tweets are kept.

Next Steps
  • Expand supported topics and cities. Buzz is currently limited to New York City, San Francisco, Miami, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
  • Integrate with Neighborhood Buzz to give a more detailed breakdown of neighborhoods in a city.
  • Support analysis to identify trends over time.
  • Harvest pop-culture keywords from more diverse genres, including sports, books, and television shows


Student Team: Amanda Anumba, Jason Cohn, and Alice Zhang

Faculty Guidance: Larry Birnbaum, Rich Gordon