Tracking Twitter Discussion Topics in Real Time with Reactive Extensions

During my recent NDC Sydney talk on real-time Twitter analysis with Reactive Extensions, I talked about the approach I used to track current discussion topics as they changed over time. This is similar to Twitter’s trending topics, but changing more dynamically.

The source data came from Twitter traffic during two episodes of the ABC’s Q&A show in the lead up to Australia’s 2016 federal election. Each of the candidates for Prime Minister – incumbent Malcolm Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten appeared as a solo guest to face questions from the audience.

I wanted a live view of the current topics of discussion as the show progressed, to get a feel for which topics the Twitter audience was responding to.

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I’m a software developer, living in Australia. I love software for what you can do with it, and how much you can learn from it. I love the power of information. Information has behaviour and meaning. It moves and flows, and it has patterns. Good software is software that harmonizes with these patterns to reveal something new and powerful.

I’m a .Net developer, and I spend a lot of time with LINQ and the Reactive Extensions framework, which are both great tools for letting you explore and manipulate data.

I also have a growing interest in wine. Since returning to Australia from London, I’ve been getting to know our wines better. I love the idea of finding a wine with a personal story behind it, and putting it away to be opened up a decade later. All of which is another way of saying that I’ve acquired a wine fridge and one of my favourite hobbies is keeping it full. As a friend said to me, wine fridges that are full have greater thermal inertia, and are therefore more efficient. So really it’s just environmentally friendly…