Thursday, 14 July 2011

Twitter users may never have seen this before. I had not and it surprised me to see geo-location data appearing in tweets during the #rurlamh hashtag convo last night. I can't remember it happening before. Once a week on Wednesday evening peeps get together online to talk about rural mental health issues using Twitter. During last night's conversation, I noticed that location data was appearing along with individual tweets - here's a screen shot to show what I mean.

You can see that it didn't matter whether the original tweet was sent from the web, from a software program like TweetDeck, or from a mobile device. My interface in this case was Seesmic Web, which accesses Twitter via a web interface. And the geo-location data did not appear with the same tweets that were viewed in other tweetstreams, or with tweets from the same people that came without the hashtag, or when viewed using the Twitter web interface. So it was a very specific issue relating to Seesmic Web when the hashtag was present, and only in the hashtag tweetstream.

Another odd fact is that the location data had nothing to do with where the actual person was physically located. I know this because location data for my own tweets appeared - see the next image.

Those are indeed  my tweets but I do not even know where "Basalt, QLD' is! I asked @johnalchin about his location (in the first image above he is shown as being at "near 354-360 George Street, Sydney", which is right in the centre of Sydney's CBD). He said he was actually out in the suburbs but that his "provider's wireless broadband has that as point". I did mention the phenomenon in the tweetstream but nobody else twigged, so I assume that I was the only person seeing this data in their browser.

It certainly is a mystery, and one that I do not know the answer to. If anyone who reads this post has the answer please leave a message explaining why this happened!

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