Twitter hires first data editor to find stories in tweets

Simon Rogers will use his expertise to make the data behind tweets digestible to all.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
2 min read

Twitter is tapping new hire Simon Rogers, previously a data journalist at the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, to be its first-ever "data editor," a position created to uncover fascinating stories as told by tweets in aggregate.

"What I'm good at is explaining data, simplifying it and making it accessible," Rogers, a 15-year veteran of the Guardian, said in an interview with O'Reilly Media.

Twitter, Rogers said, is an "amazing phenomenon" that has become a necessity for reporters, as well as a tool that keeps people informed about everything happening in the world in real time.

"Twitter has become such an important element in the way we work as journalists. It's impossible to ignore, and increasingly at the heart of every major event, from politics to sport and entertainment. As data editor, I'll be helping to explain how this phenomenon works," Rogers wrote in a blog post on his new position.

Though little is known about Rogers' specific duties, and Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment, perhaps he can help make more -- or different -- sense of the hundreds of thousands of tweets per minute that flood the network during each major pop-culture event.

This year's Super Bowl, for instance, spawned 268,000 tweets per minute at peak and generated more than 24.1 million tweets in total. Sure, the quick-and-dirty takeaways are that people loved Beyonce's halftime show and were amused by the power outage, but certainly there are more compelling stories hidden within that mountain of data.

Rogers said he will officially join the Twitter flock at the end of May.