Time zone of a tweet

It took me considerable time for me to decipher, but I finally managed to figure out few idiosyncrasies about Timezones used in a tweet. Twitter uses a simple mechanism when displaying tweet time to you on Twitter.com.

  • If you are logged in, time shown will be of Timezone set in your profile.
  • If you are not logged in, time will be shown in San francisco, USA timezone which is local timezone of twitter HQ.

At no time, it seems to care for system timezone.

As per some research, apparently, it saves the information in the database in GMT based values, but even APIs return values converted to profile timezone. Second case will not occur with API usage since Non-logged in user cannot call API directly. APIs do not seems to save daylight saving information so that will need to be deduced. It though contains UTC offset but its of the API caller not tweet poster. This thus rules out possibility of deducing location through timezone data if location info is not shared by Tweet poster.

To convert time of a tweet to the time of a location, various tools can be used. Most useful seems like https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html . You can provide multiple target cities in this one.

To avoid doing all this, you can use storify.com and copy the tweet there after creating an account and editing default story. Its settings allows one to change timezone of a story to the timezone of your target tweets thus giving this whole information easily.