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Social Media Data and Tools

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

X / Twitter Data

Email if you need Twitter data. Begin by reading X / Twitter's Developer Agreement and Policy.

There are two primary ways to access X / Twitter data:

1. Work with existing X / Twitter datasets. 

  • Most X / Twitter datasets you download from a collection set will be a spreadsheet that contains only the tweet IDs. You will need to "hydrate" these IDs using the Hydrator desktop application to connect them to the original tweet. *Twitter's changes to their API reduces the amount of read-only access which means that Hydrator is no longer a useful application. The application keys have been rescinded by Twitter.* This means that datasets from Tweet ID Data Sets and TweetSets are not able to be hydrated.
    • Tutorial: Programming Historian, Beginner's Guide to Twitter Data
      • *Twitter's changes to their API means that elements of the lesson will only work for those paying for access to the Twitter API.*
  • Tweet ID Data Sets curated by Documenting the Now
    • The DocNow Catalog is a collectively curated listing of Twitter datasets.
  • TweetSets from George Washington University Libraries
    • TweetSets are Twitter datasets for research and archiving. TweetSets allows researchers to create data queries from existing Twitter datasets created by the TweetSets team.  
    • Tutorial: George Washington University Libraries, Step-By-Step Guide to TweetSets

2. Apply for a X / Twitter developer account to get an API key to extract data directly. This is time-consuming because you need to fill out an application and wait for X / Twitter to get back to you. It is not guaranteed that X / Twitter will approve your application. You can pay $100/month for basic access to the X / Twitter API, which allows you to retrieve up to 10K tweets/month. Pay for access to the X / Twitter API at your own risk! There is no guarantee that by paying the fee you will be able to retrieve the data you need.

  • Resources for extracting Twitter data after paying for access to their API
    • Tweepy Python library
      • An easy-to-use Python library for accessing the X / Twitter API. Researchers can install Tweepy from the command line using pip or directly from the Github repository.