Editor's Note Sarah Nordquist is the Community Manager of Infochimps, an Austin, Texas startup that seeks to democratize access to the world's structured data. On the Infochimps site, you can find, sell, or share any dataset in the world.
This week, Infochimps released its Query API into public beta. It offers several calls that allow subscribers to analyze a prodigious amount of Twitter data, dating back to 2006. Our current operational calls include Trstrank, Wordbag, and Influencer Metrics.
Trstrank uses an algorithm similar to Google PageRank to generate a numerical rank that indicates the amount of influence a particular user has. This is a much more robust way to determine a Twitter user's influence than by number of followers alone.
Wordbag enables you to discover what a specific Twitter user finds interesting. After entering the handle of a specific Twitter user, Wordbag generates a list of words native to that Twitter user. Wordbag differs from a mere search of terms; it shows the frequency of the terms in question relative to all other Twitter users. For example, we fed our Wordbag the Twitter handle of Yahoo Query Language — @YQL — to yield a unique word list and then passed that through Wordle to generate the following celestial cloud. You can immediately see what YQL tweeters discuss and the relative frequency with which they discuss them. (Words used more frequently are bigger and bolder in the cloud).
Influencer Metrics measures the number of retweets, mentions, and @replies that a specific Twitter user has. Retweets and mentions can indicate the value the Twitter community gives to the tweets of a specific user. Coupling Trstrank with Influencer Metrics provides a particularly powerful way to gauge the influence of a Twitter user.
YQL tables + Infochimp API calls
An email exchange last May between Micah Laaker, Director of Product Experience for Yahoo! Developer Platforms, and Infochimps' Developer Evangelist, Jesse Crouch, resulted in the happy marriage of YQL's vocabulary and our API. Micah and our co-founder, Flip Kromer, have both created YQL tables for our API calls.
This is exciting, friends. YQL and our API both provide a means to connect the world of structured data to itself and to developers. As an example of how YQL can partner with our API, a developer could use YQL to generate search results from Twitter, pass them through a call (like the following one) to order them by Trstrank and reveal not just what's being said on Twitter, but what's being said by the Twitter big guns.
Win a Brass Monkey subscription
YQL has well-known vocabulary and established fan base, and Infochimps' Query API can be served by it. As an incentive to all the YQL lovers, we would like to offer a free Brass Monkey subscription to the first person who can do one of the following:
1. Automate the process of running a given user through our Wordbag to make a word cloud.
2. Create a way to see the number of people who joined Twitter after a certain date sorted by Trstrank.
3. Whatever ingenious brilliance your inner muse leads you to construct.
Send me an email with your entry!