According to ReadWriteWeb, Raffi Krikorian, a developer for Twitter, posted a complete version of a single "tweet", or 140 character Twitter message, this weekend on Scribd.com.
You can see the results for yourselves below:
In addition to the 140 (or less) characters in a tweet, this map shows all of the metadata thrown off by each and every post.
Some of this stuff is harmless but it is surprising how little metadata it takes to uniquely identify a particular computer. Don't believe me? Check out Panopticlick. Based on their fairly clever method, it only takes about 33 bits of data to uniquely ID a computer.
Note, I said ID the computer, not the user behind it. Likewise, knowing which 33 bits of data one needs to hide or dirty up helps the bad guys hide themselves and makes it difficult if not impossible to determine attribution by technical means alone.
More importantly, it leaves the rest of us, who do not know how much personal and identifying data we are providing, at the mercy if those who do. "Those who do" doesn't just include criminals either. It includes corporations and governments as well.
What to do about all of this is beyond me (though I think Jeff Carr at IntelFusion does some of the best thinking on the subject) but it is charts like this one that, for me, highlight the importance of this issue.