Twitter is an excellent crowdsourcing tool.
An email from Jim Cremer, who’s team-teaching a class with me at the University of Iowa next semester, asked if I could geotag my tweets. Our course will teach students how to develop iPhone applications and Jim wanted to show a current course something about geotagging. He thought some geotagged tweets from Siberia would be fun to show students.
I had seen that Twitter was going to be adding geotagging soon, but didn’t know whether it was available yet. I had already left Siberia and was in St. Petersburg. I would be leaving shortly for a walking tour of the city. To tweet without outrageous international data roaming rates, I would need to use the hotel’s free wifi.
If I was going to geotag any St. Petersburg tweets, I needed help quickly. And it was late at night back in Iowa. But I threw the question out to my tweeps (some of them are in Europe, too, and others are night owls) at 12:57 a.m. Iowa time:
Can I geotag tweets? If so, how? Is it an app? I can’t find it in settins. I heard that was available now. Can any tweeps help?
(I should add here that I hadn’t looked closely enough in settings.)
Some apps will allow you to geotag, I don’t think you can from the web interface yet. What phone do you have?
you have to activate it under settings, then you can tag individual tweets in apps like tweetie
Good news. I use Tweetie. Not so good news: A minute later, @Beaster1174 told me you have to use the new version of Tweetie. I had heard a new version was out, but had not updated since leaving home. I quickly went to the App Store and saw that yes, a new version of Tweetie is out and it includes geotagging. While it was updating, I took a closer look on my laptop at my Twitter settings and enabled geotagging on third-party clients such as Tweetie.
As I was doing that, @janaej (Janae Jaynes-Learned, an Arizona real estate broker) sent me three tweets, the first two with helpful links that would have explained (if @cophotog and @Beaster1174 had not already done so) what I needed to do. Her third tweet noted that I knew her dad, @chuckoburger (Chuck Offenburger, who gave me my first journalism job many years ago).
@GlenFaison (editor of the Porterville Recorder in California) weighed in, telling me that I could geotag with Twittelator. And @nickjungman, a journalism fellow at the University of Missouri, noted that geotagging was a setting in Tweetie.
I was on the verge of being able to geotag my tweets, but couldn’t find it in Tweetie. So I tweeted again and @cophotog told me the option was in a gray box at the bottom of the compose screen, my eighth helpful tweet from five different people.
I followed his instructions and just 38 minutes after I asked the tweeps, I posted a tweet that included a map pinpointing me in St. Petersburg (at least in Tweetie and Tweetdeck (according to another tweep, @masondan, Dan Mason, a British editor). You can’t see the geocoding on the Twitter home page, but I can’t imagine that will take long.
And, of course, the tweeps let me know that the geotagging was working (including Cremer, who did show my St. Petersburg tweets to his students). So I made a point of using Tweetie again in Moscow, to update my position. Watch for upcoming tweets on my way home, from Amsterdam and Chicago.
I don’t yet know all the ways geotagging might be helpful. But I am starting to get the hang of this crowdsourcing thing.
I will probably not blog further about yesterday’s tour of St. Petersburg, but Mimi blogged about it and I posted some photos on Flickr. Mimi also blogged about our memorable “big traffic” taxi ride from the Moscow airport.