A brief history of Twendr, 2010 to 2013

Back in the before time, when twitter had an open and generous api, I conceived, and built, of two twitter products.

One was follow-rank and follows-in-common, which decorated twitter Profiles to display the ‘Follows in Common” (how many, and which, of the accounts you follow are also followed by this account) and the “Follow Rank” (how many, and which, of the accounts you follow are also following this account), show you how important they are in your Twitter Social Network. This was released as an GreaseMonkey script. Twitter added similar but more limited “Followed by” functionality sometime after 2014 (does anyone know when exactly?)

The other product was a Twitter Trend dashboard which, in a fit of neologism I called Twenadr (for Twitter Trends). Twender took the default twitter trends, which only allowed you to look at one location at a time, and instead showed you what is happening across geographies (or time, for a single place).

Just the thing for a ADHD, info junkie like me!

Launched in late 2010, the original landing page showed “The World” and 6 countries (Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, United Kingdom, United States), and refreshed every 5 minutes. It was powered by Heroku, Ruby on Rails, Jquery, CSS and coffee – lots and lots of coffee!

Twendr 2010
Twendr 2010

Within a month Twiiter started adding more counties, and cities within a country. Which meant a major rebuild of the front end, which also allowed some customization : showing and hiding columns (hence the light build icon).

twendr 2011 early
twendr 2011 early

This was followed by frequent drumbeat of new locations until Twendr reached its final count of 35 Countries and 117 Cities!

Along the way I quickly got decent daily traffic (minimum 500 to 1500 per day, with occasional bigger spikes) and it got some nice mentions from: Dutch blog site Twitter Mania; French site Twitter Radar; french web site “Around The Rézo” or “Autour du Rezo”; Mashable’s story “Social Media Reacts to Marrakesh Bombing” linked to Twendr; and the newsletter of Service d’information de Government of France Capteurs (or Sensor) listed Twendr in the toolbox in their June edition, plus a few others (mostly broken or deadsites now).

Also Greta Pogliani created a youtube video of Twendr in action :

All of this was enough to keep me going, even though the server and storage was costing real money. I briefly ran google ads on the site, but that never covered ongoing costs.

I had some ideas around ad free paid version, or allowing for linking/embedding into a dateTime and location range (for media to embed when and what was trending during a significant event).

And then in November 2013, Twendr suffered an issue. I can’t remember the exact problem, but I think it was api changes that would have required a major change.

This was when major changes were happening to twitter api :2012: Twitter takes on third-party developers with strict new rules

But mostly, my heart wasn’t in it anymore.

R.I.P Twendr

P.S. and now “I have a cunning plan” based on new technologies and new social networks and maybe a turnip. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

P.S.S. Yes, this is my idea of brief.

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