How to collect posts connected to a hashtag?
October 9, 2017 4:27 PM   Subscribe

My boss wants me to record all posts with a given hashtag for one month, two weeks before, and two weeks after a particular event. The event has a hashtag that is unique. How do I do this on a limited budget?

I'm a twitter twit. I don't understand it (or hashtags) so the simplest method (for less than $200 dollars) for tracking all posts with our unique hashtag would be awesome. In two weeks, my boss is hosting a free education event (she does it yearly) and last year we all tweeted so hard that we had the trending hashtag in our state and attracted the media which was good. This year, she would like me to capture all the things people posted, which I found I couldn't do after the event, the tweets evaporated or there were too many of them? I don't know. It'd be good to capture it in a data-friendly format, not having to cut and paste from twitter?

Am I missing something? Are tweets (and data about them) capturable afterwards? Do hashtags apply in other social media? Please, for the sake of my poor brain, try to avoid explaining stuff I don't need to know. I have looked up this stuff up, but there's so much info I get confused.

posted by b33j to Technology (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
The simplest way to do this is probably to set up a recipe on IFTTT to log tweets to a Google Spreadsheet.

No idea how reliable it'll be or if it'll definitely catch everything (particularly if there's a high volume in a short time, e.g. during the event itself), but it's probably good enough, free, and easy.
posted by brentajones at 4:34 PM on October 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

That recipe is neat, much simpler than I thought the simplest solution would be. Seems to work pretty well, but only once I changed the path field to be blank.

The next step up in complexity, with a little more debug-ability, would be to get a decent tech person who knows simple Python scripting (i.e., can follow a recipe) to get a Twitter API key and use Tweepy. You can get more of the tweet payload, like information about the user, location (if available), lots more metadata.
posted by supercres at 4:57 PM on October 9, 2017

Example spreadsheet from the IFTTT recipe, searching "@polygon".
posted by supercres at 4:58 PM on October 9, 2017

Response by poster: I looked at IFTTT (thank you brentajones) but it wanted permission to edit and delete my Google Drive files which I was not happy with. Assume a bunch of Luddites, please. No coding. No techies.
posted by b33j at 5:02 PM on October 9, 2017

That's reasonable. If I was leaving it on for more than a few minutes to try it out, I'd create a throwaway Google account with that one purpose-- to collect that spreadsheet.
posted by supercres at 5:12 PM on October 9, 2017 [6 favorites]

TAGS spreadsheet works very well for this and is easy for non-technical people to use. But you will need to give it permission to access both Twitter and Google Drive. (Because it's a spreadsheet that sits in your google drive.)

You will want the setting "update every hour", and then it silently collects the tweets until you tell it to stop. The run-once option will only collect a maximum of 3000 tweets going back a maximum of 7 days.
posted by lollusc at 5:28 PM on October 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I do this in my research and I can attest that the solutions posted above are probably going to be the easiest thing. If you're interested in a paid solution, I'd go with NodeXL and pay them to collect and do the analyses for you.
posted by k8t at 6:36 PM on October 9, 2017

How about Storify?
posted by KateViolet at 9:26 PM on October 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

> I looked at IFTTT (thank you brentajones) but it wanted permission to edit and delete my Google Drive files...

Seconding other suggestions: Create a new Google account exclusive for this purpose. If it goes rogue, the only data it has access to is the data it had already logged.
posted by ardgedee at 3:22 AM on October 10, 2017

Do hashtags apply in other social media?

I also see them used regularly on Instagram and less frequently but still often on Facebook. I believe Tumblr also uses them, but I'm not much of a user of that service.
posted by ndfine at 3:07 PM on October 10, 2017

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