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Data journalism, Data visualisation, Mapping, Twitter

A data journalist at Twitter

In 2013, as I was about to start at Twitter, Alex Howard wrote a piece pondering on just what a data journalist would do at a tech company.

Now, as I’m about to begin a new adventure, I thought I should collect together a selection of the projects worked on with some amazing developers and others over the past couple of years. So here’s a bit of what this data journalist did at Twitter (with some help).

1) Twitter Reverb

Twitter Reverb on the Ferguson Grand Jury decision

Twitter Reverb on the Ferguson Grand Jury decision

Twitter Reverb is a tool for journalists to visualise conversations on Twitter created with Periscopic and erstwhile Twitter creative guru James Buckhouse. You can read more about how we made it here on Source. The latest version can be used to compare more than one term and you can see more examples of how different news teams have used it here:

Twitter Reverb on

Twitter Reverb on “The Dress”

2) Maps

The sun rises on Twitter

The sun rises on Twitter

Want to see how the sun rises on Twitter? Or the reaction to #JeSuisCharlie?



Or how (and when) the Super Bowl lit up America? We’ve worked a lot with mapping geotagged Tweets to tell stories around the big events, often using a free tool: CartoDB. Here are some more these animated maps and you can read more about the challenges (and fun stuff) of mapping Twitter here.

And this is what happens to the followers of a famous actor when he sends his first ever Tweet:

New followers of Robert Downey Jr after his first Tweet

New followers of Robert Downey Jr after his first Tweet

3) Interactives

The below are just a selection built with interactive designers Nicolas Belmonte and Krist Wongsuphasawat. You can find more of their amazing work here.

State of the Union

State of the Union speech on Twitter

State of the Union speech on Twitter. Nicolas Belmonte

NFL followers map

NFL followers mapped

NFL followers mapped. Krist Wongsuphasawat

How politicians follow each other

Mutual follows among U.S. politicians

Mutual follows among U.S. politicians. Nicolas Belmonte

Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year 2015. Krist Wongsuphasawat

Doctor Who

Doctor Who's most retweeted Tweets

Doctor Who’s most retweeted Tweets. Nicolas Belmonte


Farewell Nelson Mandela, on Twitter. By Miguel Rios

Farewell Nelson Mandela, on Twitter. Miguel Rios

Comprising of thousands of Tweet tributes, this was designed by Miguel Rios — you can see the full version here.

4) When people do stuff

How people use Twitter to Tweet at different times.

Late for work on Twitter

Late for work on Twitter

5) The most viral images around news events

Treemaps of the most viral images around events and moments, using a simple visual tool designed by Nicolas Belmonte.

Farewell Maya




#Ferguson on Twitter

#Ferguson on Twitter

6) How people use Twitter

Analysis of how Twitter was used during the Boston bombing, and the effects of different types of Tweeting on engagement. You can read more of these types of blog posts here (including how to make a #datavine). You can even find out who the most influential Tweeters were around Sharknado. You can pretty much see everything by taking a look at @TwitterData, which we set up just after I joined the company.

From today I am joining Google as their Trends Data Editor. More to come…

About Simon Rogers

Data journalist, writer, speaker. Author of 'Facts are Sacred', from Faber & Faber and a new range of infographics for children books from Candlewick. Edited and launched the Guardian Datablog. Now works for Google in California as Data Editor


2 thoughts on “A data journalist at Twitter

  1. Reblogged this on andreaspinopico and commented:
    Un giornalista, analista dei dati su Twitter

    Posted by andreaspinopico | March 24, 2015, 10:19 am


  1. Pingback: Google hires Twitter’s data guy - March 9, 2015

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