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Social Media Data and Tools

A guide discussing how to acquire, extract, and use social media data and tools

Extract Social Media Data

Tools that collect social media data:

    • MAXQDA has a wide range of features to help you analyze Twitter data that will be useful during all stages of the social media analysis process. 
    • See their guide for analyzing Twitter data with MAXQDA
    • The DiSC Lab in Fenwick Library has MAXQDA installed on its computers.
  • NCapture plug-in for NVivo
    • NCapture is a free web-browser extension for Chrome that enables you to gather web content--including data from Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn as well as Web pages and online PDFs--to import into NVivo. 
    • When capturing data from Facebook or Twitter for the first time, you will need to authorize NCapture
    • You need to use NCapture with NVivo in order to extract the data. The DiSC Lab in Fenwick Library has NVivo installed on its computers.
  • Tweet Archiver add-on for Google Sheets
    • The Twitter Archiver lets you easily save tweets for any search keyword or hashtag in a Google Spreadsheet. Enter a search query, or a hashtag, and all matching tweets are automatically saved in the Google Sheet. 
    • Requires Twitter developer account and API key.
  • Twitter Archiver add-on for Google Sheets
    • Monitor Twitter for brand mentions, hashtags, and other search keywords. The matching tweets are saved in Google Sheets forever. 

Advanced collection methods--coding required:

  • Facebook Graph API
    • The Graph API is the primary way to get data into and out of the Facebook platform. It's an HTTP-based API that apps can use to programmatically query data, post new stories, manage ads, upload photos, and perform a wide variety of other tasks.
    • You need to register as a Facebook Developer and create a Facebook App.
  • rtweet for R
    • An R package designed to formulate and send requests to Twitter's REST and stream APIs. 
    • Users must be authenticated to interact with Twitter's APIs. See the usage paragraph on rtweet's Github to learn more. 
  • Tweepy Python library
    • An easy-to-use Python library for accessing the Twitter API. You can install Tweepy from the command line using pip or directly from the Github repository. 

Other options:

  • Social Media Research Toolkit
    • The Social Media Research Toolkit is a list of 50+ social media research tools curated by researchers at the Social Media Lab at Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University. The kit features tools that have been used in peer-reviewed academic studies. Many tools are free to use and require little or no programming.