Since 2009, Marni Shindelman and Nate Larson have embarked on an unusual project. They scan publicly available Twitter feeds for geotagged tweets and then travel to those locations to photograph them.

The two try to imagine what the Twitter user was thinking or seeing when they composed their sometimes humorous and often poignant tweets.

For Shindelman and Larson, the project is about looking for some of the real people behind the 500 million tweets sent each day. "Our act of making a photograph anchors and memorializes the ephemeral online data in the real world and also probes the expectations of privacy surrounding social networks," they write on their website.

Larson and Shindelman shared some of their photos with us here; you can see the rest on their site.

The “Geolocation” project began in 2009 when the duo discovered Yahoo Pipes, a web tool that someone had used to map tweets that had been geotagged. At the time, there were only a few tweets, but this one in front of an investment bank in Chicago caught their eye. “We took this right after the Recession hit and there was something impactful about someone walking out after getting fired and sending this sad, funny tweet,” says Larson.

At the time, Shindelman was living in Rochester, New York, and Larson was living in Chicago. Each did their own version of the project focusing on their location.

Over time, the two found better applications for the project. Shindelman now uses Bing Twitter Map, while Larson uses Tweetspot and Streamd.in.

Most tweets are not geotagged so they are limited to a small number of tweets out of the 500 million per day that are sent. Their selection of which tweets to use for the project is highly subjective.


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