Class Projects - Spring 2013


ChatterTrack brings more transparency to the online communities that surround politicians and other public figures.

ChatterTrack project from the Collaborative Innovation class Spring 2013.
What it does

Politicians are more polished and media savvy than ever. They're skilled at delivering their message on any platform — print, broadcast and online. ChatterTrack is an attempt to step out of the message machine and learn more about politicians by looking at what their supporters are talking about.

ChatterTrack pulls tweets from the followers of politicians, analyzes them, and then divides them into categories — sports, politics, business, technology, health, food, etc. It then displays the topics followers discuss most in a bar graph, allowing allows users to drill down into each category to learn more about the tweets surrounding politicians. A curiosity tool, ChatterTrack gives people an interesting way to explore the passions of people who follow public figures.

How it works

The app sends requests to Twitter for tweets of followers of any public account. The server sends tweets to Datasift, which filters requests based on provided parameters and sends them back to ChatterTrack. ChatterTrack uses an in-house categorizer to analyze tweets and divide each in to categories.

Next Steps

The builders of ChatterTrack imagined a few possibilities for future development, including:

  • Real time tracking of tweets to produce a more meaningful and timely analysis
  • Greater capacity to serve a greater number of users at once.  

A chart comparing the interests of President Barack Obama's Twitter followers to those of Senator Rand Paul.

Users can explore the terms that influenced ChatterTrack's analysis.

What do Rahm Emmanuel's follower's talk about most? ChatterTrack can show you.


Live demo (no longer being updated with new tweets)

Learn more about the building process

Initial Concept: Larry Birnbaum and Kris Hammond

Student Team: Liu Liu (computer science), Khalid Aziz (computer science), Bryan Lowry (journalism)

Faculty Guidance: Larry Birnbaum, Rich Gordon, and Kris Hammond (with assistance from Shawn O’Banion)