I have seen some absolutely stunning Twitter wallpapers and one thing that always sparks my imagination is living in a world of constraints.  Twitter gives everyone the same template, and lets us change colours, background images, but that’s about it.  When we, (myself, @kenstruys and Jason Tigas) were developing Thoora’s company twitter feed, we wanted to do something cool.  There was one area on the Twitter profile page we had some control over, even though most people wouldn’t think the control exists:  Recent Followers, and the Twitter mosaic was born.

So.... who has your company followed recently?

And just in case you missed it:

Now we did what we could, and Twitter so graciously gave us a nice 6×6 grid to work with.  So 36 Captcha’s  later – we had our very own custom module on our page.  We played around with having a mini version of our site embedded into the mosaic (each tile linking to the twitter account of a subsection of our site) but it seemed a bit overkill. Our Creative Director wasn’t too thrilled with kerning on the letters: t-h-o-o-r-a, but I really wanted to push the company name out there.  We were also able to nicely squeeze our logo mark (the thoora man) nicely into the grid.  For those curious, here’s a shot of one of the tiles:

All accounts are public, so feel free to mosaic your own page with us ;)

So that was a nice little afternoon hack which we put together a few months back.  Yes, I realize there is some branding inconsistencies here:  The logo mark is chopped up, the kerning is all wrong on our font… but the Thoora man got stuck in people’s head, and that’s what we wanted.  So here is a quick app idea, create a pixel account for every color in the RGB spectrum, then make an interactive tool allowing users to draw whatever they like in their “following canvas”.  If you make it, I’d love to try it out!  (Although the 24^2 * 36 pixels is a hell of a lot of Captcha’s).  Lastly, if you were wondering, we wrote a script to follow the accounts in order, so we are 1 line away from having a branded Twitter account. Thanks to David Billingham (@slawcup) for the PHP API wrappers. Usage: php script.php username password

<?php
   /**
   * Super Duper Twitter Mosaic Generator:
   * Given a Twitter username/password, set the
   * following area to a nice mosaic image.
   */

   // Let's hide all the API calls (thanks @slawcup)
   // http://twitter.slawcup.com/twitter.class.phps
   require_once('twitter.php');

   // Lets go easy on the API
   $sleep_time = 10;

   // What are the tiles called?
   $account_prefix = 'thoora_p';

   // Create a new twitter API connection
   $t = new twitter();
   $t->username = $argv[1];
   $t->password = $argv[2];

   // First unfollow all the tiles
   for($i = 5; $i >= 0; $i--) {
      for($j = 5; $j >= 0; $j--) {
         $account = $account_prefix.($j.$i);
         // Fail silently if we weren't even following them
         $t->unfollow($account);
         sleep($sleep_time);
      }
   }

   // Now follow all the tiles, remember to follow in reverse order
   for($i = 5; $i >= 0; $i--) {
      for($j = 5; $j >= 0; $j--) {
         $account = $account_prefix.($j.$i);
         $t->follow($account);
         sleep($sleep_time);
      }
   }
   echo 'All done';
?>
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