Mittwoch, 17. März 2010

On my way to TweetMountain (Part 2)

Almost two months ago I wrote a first post about TweetMountain. Back then I only had a faint idea of what I wanted to do and what it could look like. Now - several weeks later - the idea still is the same but the look and a lot of technical details have changed. This post will summarize what has changed since then.


The biggest step was for sure the change over from single-letter-rendering to the usage of whole words. This step changed the mountain from a sheer mess to a mess that can be read and interpreted as something that was created by humans ;-)
In addition to using whole words as building blocks I also introduced colors to the mountain. The color of the words now represents the account that has sent the according tweet.
Both ideas base on discussions with @prokrastinator whom I'd like to thank for his great input!

These content based changes were accompanied by one other change: Whenever an image gets posted in a tweet it will not be rendered as the URL that was shown in the tweet but as the actual image. This brings the visual content of a tweet into the mountain in its natural form.


So this is what TweetMountain currently looks like in full action (Unfortunately the people it currently follows do not post many pictures).

Next to the changes to the look and algorithms of TweetMountain, it also got its own twitter account: @zwitscherhuegel. It is used to follow different people and institutions that this way produce the mountain itself. But it is also used to output screen shots of the mountain and to get in touch for discussion about TweetMountain or other twitter-art-projects. So, the account is not (only) a bot, it also gets used manually. So if you have some questions or input, go ahead and tweet ;-)

So much for the current status of the project. Some further steps I may/will take include:
  • Support of more image services. Currently I only support Twitpic and yfrog, there are several other platforms that shold be used.
  • Find a place and a computer to host the Mountain 24/7.
  • Use a "dynamic camera" that zooms in or out depending on what is currently going on on TweetMountain.
  • Translate the twitter output the mountain generates to several languages so it gets more diverse.
  • Change letter rendering from a hard coded image map to dynamic font based rendering.
  • ...
Okay, that's it for today from TweetMountain. I will continue this project and keep you informed. If you want to, just follow @zwitscherhuegel and get in touch with TweetMountain or me on twitter.

Other posts that may be of interest:


  1. Hey, thanks for the mention ;-)

    Addition of images is a really great idea and definitely adds to the visual attractiveness. The different shape (square/rectangle) of the images mixes things up a little... which brought me to another idea: Instead of having rectangles around the words you could have somewhat more organic shapes. Either totally random or pseudo-random generated from with the word as seed (so that the same word always has the same outline).

    That could add interest to the optics and also, if that shapes behave somewhat physically correct, lead to more interesting interaction.

    It could also just make it look like a big mess, actually ;-)

    Also, no idea how hard that would be on the framework that you are using, it just came to my mind earlier today (while procrastinating, coincidentally).


  2. Hey,

    where can I see the TweetMountain live? I recommend that you make any mention of the word "TweetMountain" a link that leads to the currently best source of direct results - as live as possible. May even be twitpic.

    For a hosting environment we have to talk in person... Should not be impossible. ;-)



  3. Hey,

    you always can see a current screenshot on twitter: @zwitscherhuegel (

    Of course I could show you a live view (as long as you are in the Karlsruhe, Germany area ;-)). Other than that I only could show it to you using skype/webcam/...

    Regarding hosting: just contact me here or via DM to @zwitscherhuegel



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