23 Jun 2012

Archiving tweets using a Google Docs spreadsheet

There are lots of web apps which store your tweets but some have limitations, such as a maximum number of tweets etc., and also there is nothing quite like having your data in csv format :) This is why I like using Martin Hawsey's Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet (TAGS).

  • Simply save a copy of the spreadsheet and follow the instructions on Martin's web page
  • As part of the set-up process you will need to get a Twitter API key at http://dev.twitter.com/apps/new and fill in the consumer key and consumer secret

If any of this sounds complicated, don't worry, it's not! You can set the script to run every hour or every day to 'collect' and archive tweets containing a particular hashtag e.g. #irelibchat. This is how we archived the tweets from the first #irelibchat. You might also want to use it as a research tool - for example if there is a specific product, organisation, event or topic you want to keep track of. You can then manipulate your data easily in spreadsheet format, and it is easier to identify common themes and relationships.

Not only will the TAGS spreadsheet generate a nice date-stamped archive spreadsheet of all relevant tweets and tweeters, it also generates other summary statistics such as the top tweeters, the number of retweets and the number of unique tweets. There is also a neat Tags Explorer Visualisation tool which generates a picture of the connections between the tweeters. Here is the #irelibchat visualisation - pretty stuff :)

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