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What’s in a tweet’s metadata

There is talk of requiring Australian ISPs collect & store metadata as a user browses the net. Metadata can include a lot of information, for example this is what’s included in a single tweet:

  • the main tweet object, including,
    • the contents of the tweet,
    • the location of the tweet was sent from,
    • the type of device used to send the tweet (phone, website, etc),
    • the time it was sent,
    • the ID of the tweet (from which its URL is implied),
  • links, hashtags, photos and mentions,
    • mini-profiles of any one mentioned,
    • the URLs of the photos (so basically the content),
  • places the tweet is associated with, and,
  • the user’s profile
    • name,
    • lastest tweet,
    • profile photo, background and banner,
    • location.

I’m sure there is other data associated with each tweet, but that’s a quick walk through of the content available via the Twitter API. The metadata associated with a tweet demonstrates how metadata can mean more raw data than just the content alone.

I spent the weekend looking at Twitters API, for 11Mb of content I was collecting over 50Mb of metadata.

By Peter Wilson

Peter has worked on the web for twenty years on everything from table based layouts in the 90s to enterprise grade CMS development.

Peter’s a big fan of musical theatre and often encourages his industry colleagues to join him for a show or two in New York or in the West End.

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