Behind the Scenes

I read and re-read this blog entry on the weekend.  From Raffi Krikorian, it’s designed to show the forensics behind a Twitter message or tweet.  I was really engaged, dare I say fascinated, with this on a number of levels.

First, the computer programmer in me just hasn’t looked seriously as any production code for a long time.  The JSON code is easily read and it really is out of context since I’m doing nothing but reading it but it’s still good reading.

Secondly, I’ve always been curious about how different Twitter third party applications get and parse the information that they do.  Why do some clients have certain features and others don’t?  By looking through here, you can see what information is available and it’s up to the programmers and design teams to do what they might with the data.

Thirdly, I’m really interested in this from an educational perspective.  A Twitter message is just 140 characters, right?  No, it’s much more.  As you dig, it’s easy to see just exactly how much detail and information is contained therein.  In the classroom, going through and looking at an example (even if you’re not going to program an interface to it), should give students an insight to how much information is readily available to anyone who wishes to tap into it.  What a great launchpad into a discussion about privacy.

Fourthly, I’m still on a geek high from the secondary Computer Contacts meeting yesterday where there were a few computer programmers in the crowd.  That’s always a high moment for me and the discussions about programming really are motivating.  Students who elect to take Computer Studies courses will definitely have a leg up on understanding the implications that technology has if they’re able to read and somewhat understand the following.

I really am a proponent of all that the social web has to offer to enhance education.  Use is only part of it though.  People do need to have some abilities to look behind the scenes to try and get a sense of exactly what’s happening.

Click for the complete document.  map-of-a-tweet

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