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Tracking Twitter Trends


Two Students Create Web Site to Track Historic Twitter Trends

Twend.it, a web site created by Tim Kelleher and Nick DiFilippo, allows people to view longest running and most frequent trends

(August 31, 2010)

Nick Difilippo, left, and Tim Kelleher, work on their web site, Twend.it, at Flame Broiler restaurant, where they do much of their creative thinking.Enlarge

Nick Difilippo, left, and Tim Kelleher, work on their web site, Twend.it, at Flame Broiler restaurant, where they do much of their creative thinking.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -- RT @UCRiverside: #Computerscience and #art student create tool to track Twitter’s top trending topics over time.

Tim Kelleher and Nick DiFilippo created Twend.it, a web site that lists the top 10 current trends and the longest running and most frequent trends since May 13, the day Kelleher finished the program that sorts the data. The site can also be viewed at Twendit.org.

Twitter’s home page lists the top 10 trend topics of the moment, but doesn’t track the data historically.

Kelleher and Difilippo, seniors at the University of California, Riverside who have known each other three years and share an interest in how Twitter measures pop culture, believe the site has commercial potential, especially in the marketing and advertising industries.

Kelleher, who is majoring in business informatics, a joint program between the Bourns College of Engineering and School of Business Administration, created the program over several days after noticing Twitter didn’t track long-term trending topics.

“I’m interested in tracking things and I’ve built web sites,” said Kelleher, who created a site for computer science students and another site devoted to one of his favorite television shows, Arrested Development. “So, I figured why not combine the two.”

Kelleher, 23, who lives in Riverside but went to high school in Huntington Beach, and DiFilippo, 22, of Grand Terrace, brainstormed how to design the site during lunches and dinners of chicken bowls with white meat, brown rice and onion at Flame Broiler. Initially, it was hosted on Kelleher’s personal blog.

That changed in mid-August when Felipe Neto, a Brazilian actor, spotted his name on the list and tweeted a link to Kelleher’s blog. Neto has more than 550,000 followers.

More than 13,000 hits later, the server that housed the blog crashed.

“Up until then, we knew we might be sitting on something good,” DiFilippo said. “But when someone recognizes it, it gives you the extra push.”

After the push, the students came up with the name Twend.it, which combines Twitter and trend into a name they believe is brandable.

Now, between their campus jobs – Kelleher does IT work for the department of electrical engineering and DiFilippo is a digital assistant at the UCR ARTSblock – they are working on the site.

The work is starting to get noticed. Last week, www.forbes.com ran a story about the site.

Since then, Kelleher and Difilippo have hired someone to redesign the web site. They also are working on several features, including one that would allow users to compare top trending topics, such as the movies Inception and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and another that would create weekly and monthly snapshots of the most popular topics.

Meanwhile, the two continue to be amazed by what populates the lists on Twend.it.

“It’s almost like being an anthropologist, trying to decipher what all this means,” DiFilippo said.

Tim Kelleher and Nick DiFilippo can be reached at info@giganticmedias.com or 424-248-5785.
Nick Difilippo, left, and Tim Kelleher, work on their web site, Twend.it, at Flame Broiler restaurant, where they do much of their creative thinking.Enlarge

Nick Difilippo, left, and Tim Kelleher, work on their web site, Twend.it, at Flame Broiler restaurant, where they do much of their creative thinking.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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