We're all familiar with the gorgeous photos of Earth at night, but what if our world was lit up by information instead of lightbulbs? Developer Franck Ernewein has done just that with Tweet ping, a website that displays tweets as they're posted in real time across the world. The site isn't necessarily an informational tool: it's more of a lean-back, enjoy the action sort of experience. After you open the webpage, public geolocated tweets are streamed in using Twitter's Streaming APIs, and a dot is placed on the map. These dots accumulate while you keep your browser window open, and charts on the bottom of the screen provide some information on how many tweets have come and gone in each region during that period.
It's important to note that this isn't a visualization of Twitter's firehouse of every tweet in the world — Ernewein is likely using the public streams that Twitter offers, which provide data from up to one percent of tweets (out of the roughly 340 million that are posted each day). While you won't draw any major conclusions from gazing into the data map, it's intriguing — if altogether unsurprising — to consider how the location of tweets shares many similarities with where we see the most light shining at night. It also helps us keep in mind that Twitter users primarily represent just a certain portion of Earth.