olihawkins

Westminster Bubble's final word cloud

14 Aug 2018 20:12 GMT

Last summer I wrote a small Twitter bot called Westminster Bubble. It follows the Twitter accounts of registered Parliamentary journalists and shows what they are tweeting about in one word cloud a day. You can read more about it in the article I posted when it launched.

Westminster Bubble was always intended as a fun side project: a light-hearted way of presenting data on the topics obsessing political journalists in Westminster, which is where I work. It was fun to write, and it was fun to watch it work each day.

And it wasn't difficult to develop because Twitter's streaming API made it very easy to subscribe to the tweets from all the people an account follows. I wrote the code in free moments during my summer break. It was literally ‘what I did on my summer holidays’.

But in December last year, Twitter announced that it was shutting down its streaming API. The API was originally scheduled to close in June this year, but Twitter pushed the date back to August after some resistance from developers.

Twitter's new Account Activity API works in a completely different way, which means the only way to keep Westminster Bubble running would be to rewrite it from scratch. And I don't think that's going to happen. It could come back to life at some point, but being realistic this is probably the end of the road.

To wrap things up, I thought it would be interesting to make a word cloud covering the whole period Westminster Bubble has been online.

A word cloud representing the relative frequency of words used by journalists covering Westminster politics on Twitter from 16 September 2017 to 14 August 2018

This word cloud has been produced using all tweets from registered Parliamentary journalists covering Westminster politics from 16 September 2017 to 14 August 2018. As anyone who has been following the account knows, Brexit has been the biggest single issue, and the leaders of the Conservative and Labour parties routinely dominate the coverage.