On ReadWriteWeb there’s an interesting map of the metadata that accompanies every one of your 140 character messages on Twitter, which I’ve reproduced below. (The map is the work of Raffi Krikorian. Click on the image to enlarge it.) There’s nothing terribly shocking here, perhaps: much of this metadata can be learned from visiting the Twitter page of the person sending the message. Even so, it’s sensible for those of us who are privacy conscious to be reminded from time to time that what seems to us to be a very minimal exposure to the unblinking glare of the internet carries with it a large amount of “body language,” so to speak.
[Here’s the link to the same file as a PDF, so that you can enlarge it even more if you wish.]
These extras—this metadata—is of considerable interest to corporations that want to know which way the winds of commerce are blowing and how best to trim their sheets to capture them (and you) for profit. The ReadWriteWeb post talks about DataSift, a company that can consume the giant Twitter flow along with other gushings and extract information of an aggregate nature that might be useful to corporate clients. One imagines that governments, too, are mining this spate for purposes of their own.