New ‘Dataminr’ Tool Can Predict Twitter Trending Topics

Ever wonder how journalists are somehow able to have facts on a story as it happens? It’s hard work but Twitter’s new Dataminr tool aims to make that easier.

Twitter on an iPhone image

It was just a familiar blue icon and a 140 character phenomenon a few years ago but now, in 2014, Twitter is a bonafide news gathering tool. When natural disasters strike with little time to evacuate people individually, emergency services turn to the social media site to get the word out. It’s the same for unsafe areas in which crimes are taking place – avoiding fatalities using tweets is now a thing that the world knows and understands. Furthermore, it’s even been used to spark revolutions around the world, as well as creating world-changing debates, all with the help of a tiny micro-blogging message. Now, Twitter, working with CNN, have created ‘Dataminr’, a tool that can predict which of these things will create the most conversation and become popular trending topics before many people have even heard of them.

To call it by its full name, Dataminr For News is just that; a news gathering tool, meaning that rather than spammy marketers taking advantage of trends by getting ahead of the curve, Dataminr can and will be utilised by journalists to better shape the picture around their stories. CNN have been testing this out, helping Dataminr (the name of the actual company behind it) create the tool, having tested it out for the past 6 months. The features that Dataminr offers and that CNN have likely been using is that unlike Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, Dataminr is “a tool for when you don’t know what you’re looking for” and it finds these obscure trends by analysing tweets based on several parameters, including geo-location and and clustered reports.

Dataminr can come in handy even more so with its alerts, which can be sent to via email, mobile app, the Dataminr desktop client or even via the newsroom’s existing editing software and it can help journalists identify whether or not the budding story is from another journalist or from a citizen reporter, making stories more likely to be breaking news, rather than rehashed information and therefore making the story more newsworthy. CNN say that approximately two of their stories a day are generated thanks to Dataminr and while they also add that it doesn’t necessarily replace old news gathering ways (e.g fact checking and following up with sources), it does act somewhat like a police scanner, albeit one that costs money as Dataminr For News is set to be a paid service (although price plans have yet to be announced).

We’ll keep you posted once we know more.

Source: Wired

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