Al Jazeera launches Arab Spring Twitter tracker

We're all well aware of the role that micro-blogging site Twitter has had on recent upheavals throughout North Africa and the Middle East with much of the impetus behind the people-powered uprisings and political oustings driven by social networking of one flavour or another.

While it's true that one man's unnecessary additional annoyance in a world already over-run with self-centred narcissists desperate to share every insignificant detail of their mind-numbing existence with the world is another man's revolution, it would have been hard to predict the impact that a string of 140 character messages could have on the planet's cultural history.

In deference to the great dematocratising power of the little blue bird of truth [and cobblers, Ed.], Arab news outlet Al Jazeera has developed a Twitter Dashboard which oversees the machinations of an ever-changing world through its tweeters - or twitterers, or twats, or whatever they are called this week.

The top-left quadrant (below) contains a graph showing happenings in the last hour, day or month - colour-coded in the top right section, which also shows the country in question's national flag, the total number of tweets so far that day and the average tweets per hour.

The bottom-right quadrant is home to a nicely-animated block graphic showing the keyword distribution of hashtags delineated by country.

Lastly, the bottom-left bit is a live stream of tweets which rolls past quicker than anyone here at thinq_ can comfortably read (particularly those written in Arabic) but that's no indication that those of you with younger eyes or less confuzzled brains won't be able to keep up.

It's all very web 2.0 and pretty but we don't suppose it will change the world. Then again, who would have thought Facebook would play a role in reshaping the political topography of the 21st century?