Yesterday, while reading through the hashtags for last Monday’s superb Twicket event (for background, read the Wikipedia article about Twicket, which I wrote), I started to notice that other hashtags had been used in tweets discussing it. I started to wonder which had been used the most, and what subjects they were about, and this gave me an idea, which I posted to Twitter:
Idea: A tool which, given a hashtag (say, #twicket) lists all the other hashtags tweeted with it, in order of priority.
— Andy Mabbett (@pigsonthewing) April 26, 2011
Sadly, my coding days were so long ago that I no longer have the technical skills to make that happen.
Then Rachel Beer (@rachelbeer) kindly retweeted my comment, and one of her followers, Simon Painter (@SimonPainter), immediately responded that it was was something he could do. That evening, he already had a first daft up-and-running, and the tool, which I named “HashMash”, is now available for public use at simonpainter.com/hashmash. He’s done a superb job, it works just how I imagined it would. (Nonetheless, Simon tells me that he plans to make a jquery version and beautify it).
He kindly credited Rachel and me in the footer, so I recoded the footer to include links, hCard microformats and “tag” rel-values, and popped my amendments to Simon’s markup onto the very useful PasteBin website, which has syntax highlighting.
Just one minute later, Simon had uploaded my new markup.
Bearing in mind that Simon and I have never met, had never corresponded, and weren’t even following each other on Twitter until this happened, this has been a first-class example of the power of social media, and the JFDI approach to getting stuff done. In many large organisations, the first meeting about a project initiation document wouldn’t even be scheduled.
Why not try HashMash now? Let me know what you think.
Simon and Rachel: Thank you. I owe you both a beer!
Footnote: Simon has the best Twitter disclaimer ever.
Update: Simon has written a blog post explaining the underlying technology.
Update 2: Following design changes, my “footer” markup is now at the top of the page!