The snowflakes you can see gently floating down your screen are real-time representations of tweets, taken live from Twitter’s Streaming API. The size of each flake is loosely based on its author’s follower count, and hovering over each flake will reveal the tweet it represents complete with highlighted hashtags, usernames and URLs. If you’re using a modern web browser with any luck the snowflakes will even rotate slowly as they glide down your screen.
To avoid a total whiteout only tweets containing certain festive keywords are shown, so if you want to feature simply send a tweet including any of the following phrases. Your tweet will appear instantly at the top of the page—although it can sometimes be a little tricky to spot!
merry christmas, happy christmas, father christmas, christmas presents, merry xmas, love christmas, christmas songs, christmas shopping
If you had trouble spotting your tweet then simply include the #nodeflakes hashtag in any tweet for an extra special snowflake you’ll be hard pressed to miss (especially if you have your sound turned on!). The following Tweet button will illustrate a special gold nodeflake in full effect:Tweet #nodeflakes
If you’re interested in more information about the technology powering nodeflakes your best bet is to head over to the original article. The following image will give you some idea of what’s going on but the writeup goes into far more detail about each individual component and the frontend code.
The code hasn’t changed much over the past three years and in some places is certainly showing its age, but as long as it works and people enjoy it it’ll make an appearance every year in the run up to Christmas.
Enjoy the snowflakes!