Filter Tweets By Location With

by Jason Falls |

Disclosure: The Humana Innovation Center is a client and I’ve been involved with this project. I trust you know I wouldn’t share it here if it weren’t relevant.

Yesterday, my friends at the Humana Innovation Center opened to public beta. The tool (TPS stands for Tweet Positioning System) offers you the ability to filter Twitter conversations based on geography so you can zone in on trending topics or hot issues at a more local level. All you do is search for your topic (let’s say, “swine flu”) and you can see where conversations are happening around the topic.

The Swine Flu heat map as of noon ET Monday, Oct. 19, 2009
The Swine Flu heat map as of noon ET Monday, Oct. 19, 2009
Related words used in Tweets about Swine Flu in Wichita, Kan., appear when clicking on the conversation circle for that area.
Related words used in Tweets about Swine Flu in Wichita, Kan., appear when clicking on the conversation circle for that area.

When you click on a conversation circle, the tool not only filters and displays the tweets from that geographic area, but also shows you related words found in the tweets to give you a sense of what other terms people are using when talking about your topic (think brand). In this case, I zeroed in on Wichita, Kan., which was unusually large on the main map. It turns out there were some tweets about a teacher and some students who had been diagnosed there. How else would you know the hotbed for swing flu talk in the U.S. was Wichita?

There are dozens of use cases for this type of conversation analysis. You can feed relative local conversational information to regional sales teams. What people talk about in Miami is probably a bit different than what’s the scuttlebutt in Boise. If you can draw differences in how people talk about your product, service or industry you may be better equipped to engage them in a discussion or sale.

You can also monitor geographic trends of your product or service to see product or service issues confined to a geographic region before they spread elsewhere. Knowing there might be tainted products in Portland could save you some valuable time in confirming or getting the world out.

This tool is especially valuable for small businesses whose customer base is confined by geography. If you have a furniture store in Dover, Del., you don’t particularly need to know what people are saying about furniture in Phoenix. MyTPSReport can help you filter out the noise to get to what you need more efficiently.

Chris Hall posted a bit of background about the project when it went into limited beta a couple of weeks ago. I would encourage you to explore more about it on, the Humana Innovation Center’s blog. The basic background as to why a Fortune 100 healthcare company would develop a Twitter tool is simple. The Innovation Center wanted to provide relevant consumer insights around healthcare, health and wellness to the appropriate sales and marketing teams within Humana. They developed this tool to do so. They realized, however, that the general public could use it for that and other purposes as well. This is their way of contributing to the online community of social media and technology users. is free to use. You can even save your searches to accumulate intelligence over time.

What the development team is doing now with MyTPSReport is looking for feedback. Please jump into the tool and tell us what it can do for you. Tell us what features will make it better. And if you like it, share it with your network. The more folks we have testing and trying it out, the better it will become.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments. If I can’t answer them, I’ll get a member of the development team to come over and respond.

And yeah, the name was inspired a bit by Office Space. I’ll need you to come in on Saturday. Heh.

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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).