Working with TAGS

I resisted joining Twitter when it came out. I rationalised, I’m already on Facebook and I don’t really chat online. I play games and use the like/share buttons. So it was not necessary for me to join Twitter. Then I got accepted to City University London to read MSc Library Science. One of the requirements for the course was- a Twitter account. So I signed up. At first my timeline consisted of nothing more than the ads from companies I was interested in but as I got to know my classmates and I got deeper into the course, my timeline filled up with information from a variety of sources. The main source for this course is #citylis and for our 5th lab session, we used the data from that hashtag to create a spreadsheet archive.

Both Google and Twitter have APIs that developers can adapt and use for their own research purposes. Martin Hawksey has developed an application mashup using the Twitter Search API and the Google API. It can be accessed through this website. This is a screenshot of the website:

TAGS screenshot

After following a long list of instructions, we finally created a TAGS spreadsheets. We used the Old Sheets version as at the time, that was the one that worked better. This is a screenshot of the TAGS archive.

#citylis TAGS Archive

This is the Read Me/Settings page where the values are entered. The text of the tweets and other data are stored on the Archives sheet.

This is a resource allows you to extract all the tweets from the last seven days before you create the archive for any hashtag. You can also set it to automatically update the sheet every hour. I have tried this using both the Old sheets and the New sheets version. At this time, the New sheets version works better.

For the New sheets version, I entered the value #CyborgMonday. I’d missed the Twitter chat which the author scheduled for 9 pm EST/ 6 pm PST. As I am now in London, that meant 2 am this morning. So collecting all tweets in an archive can be handy for this sort of activity. However, researchers use it to collect quantitative data such as the frequency of tweets and re-tweets, the rate of tweets in a day or over a week and charts showing the volume of tweets using a particular hashtag. Studying this data can give researchers an idea of the popularity of certain domains and the impact tweeters have on their followers just to name two areas of research using Twitter. Twitter is a popular resource nowadays as its API allows researcher to extract volumes of data in amounts to would benefit research.

Twitter is a recent social media platform. However, it has garnered millions of users in recent years. Many researchers regard it as a valuable resource. Twitter agrees which is why they have developed an API that allows you to use their search function. Martin HAwksey has created an application that uses that API as well as the Google API to create an archive of tweets on a Google spreadsheet. To set up the application, it is not difficult but it may be time-consuming. The New sheets version is better now especially since Google is migrating all the spreadsheets using the old version of Google Sheets to the new version.


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