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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Laughing at Twitter Traffic!

It's true... I was laughing out loud today... at packets!

This project came out of thin air almost... I was preparing for a podcast with the ChannelWeb group (you can listen to it at I was on the phone line early with the moderator and interviewers and making small talk.

I mentioned that I'd tried to do some Tweeting that morning and there were problems. I explained how I used Wireshark to determine the problem had nothing to do with my system. There seemed to be a problem with the website.

When the interview started, Ed Moltzen (a very impressive Tweeter and interviewer) led the discussion back to my early morning problems with As I talked about the problem, it suddenly occurred to me that people might like to know what Tweet traffic looks like. I told Ed that I'd do an analysis of a Tweet after the podcast.

I did... I immediately got working on a clean trace showing just the Tweet. That was no easy feat since my host spewed all sorts of background traffic for unrelated processes. I began identifying and whittling away traffic that was unrelated. Finally - I sent my sample Tweet and created my analysis report. But I wasn't done...

TweetDeck was ripe for an analysis... and here's when life got really fun. It turns out that when you upload your Twitter picture it is placed on an Amazon Web Server (AWS) under the original file name. Each user has a unique user ID and the image is placed in that directory under a directory called profile_images.
The picture names were hysterical!
  • WhatSheWants
  • MeNoWife
  • Spoon_too_big
You can read the entire report at I also released the MAC World Domination project details at that location.

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Now - off I go... the packets are calling!


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