Category Archives: Twitter

Twitter Tools for Research

Statistics

TweetStats

You can find out how often you (or anybody you know the twitter name of) is tweeting using TweetStats.

WeFollow

Use WeFollow to see who people with similar interests are following. It uses hashtags to categorize people by industry or hobby.

wefollow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xefer Twitter Charts

Xefer graphs Tweets and replies using Yahoo Pipes and Google Charts to display hour-by-hour information. The other cool thing about Twitter Charts is that it will show you all the @replies a person has ever used, sorted by person. You can quickly find out who they favor.

xefer

 

 

 

 

 

Searching Tweets

Twitter Search

This is Twitter’s search page. Use it to search for keywords. There is also an advanced search option

See what's happening right now

Snap Bird

Searches beyond Twitter’s history so you can search tweets further back than 10 days, in only friends’ tweets, within direct messages and within any user’s favourites. Really useful when you remember a tweet but forgot to favourite it and want to read it again.

Trendistic 

Allows comparative searches of terms within Twitter. It is great for contextual analysis since the visual data (that can span from 24 hours to 30 days) is supported by the inclusion of qualitative data (the tweets that were used to generate the visuals). It is also a great tool for analyzing words in context as well as observing emergence of trends and patterns of communication.

Listorious

A search engine for Twitter lists, which is helpful for finding users with interests similar to yours.

Twicsy

This searches for images in Twitter. It relies on user descriptions so can be a bit hit and miss.

Influence and Reach

 

TweetReach

Provides a comprehensive set of metrics about a search term or user impact on Twitter and complements the quantitative data with excerpts of qualitative inputs. An explanation of how the scores are calculated is available here. Calculating reach is useful when aiming to assess the number of exposures a message/account could gain as facilitated by its network.

TweetReach report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Klout 

Klout scores range from 0-100 and measure the overall online influence of a Twitter account. The score is “a factor of over 35 variables broken into three categories: True Reach, Amplification Score and Network Score” where “True Reach is the size of the account’s engaged audience and is based on the followers and friends who actively listen and react to your messages. Amplification Score is the likelihood that an account’s messages will generate actions (retweets, @messages, likes and comments) and is on a scale of 1 to 100. Network score indicates how influential an account’s engaged audience is, also on a scale of 1 to 100. The Klout score is highly correlated to clicks, comments and retweets.”

TwentyFeet

Aggregates social media stats from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Analytics, Myspace and bit.ly. Once authorized it collects and produces visualizations based on activity metrics: followers, lists, mentions, RTs, favorites, links and more. It interprets data into categories: reputation (followers and lists), influence (mentions, RTs), conversation indicators (Tweets, RTs, @replies).

 

Archiving Tweets

The Archivist 

Archives twitter data and provides some visual interpretation by default. This makes the analysis process even easier than with TwapperKeeper . It has options for viewing and downloading the data. The Archivist has also a desktop application which would enable working with other datasets as well.

Other ways of archiving Twitter include back-up options reviewed by ReadWriteWeb. Of some relevance might beTwistory and TwInbox, both downloading data to calendars and Outlook Express respectively.

Using Twitter for Academic Research

Twitter is an excellent resource which is often underused in Academic research. Largely because of common misconceptions of Twitter including:

  • It’s only for teenagers
  • It’s all celebrities telling us what they have for breakfast
  • It’s time consuming

This is unfortunate, because Twitter is a valuable resource for academics. If you’re allowing  inaccurate stereotypes to deter you, you’re missing out.

Dorothy Bishop, Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology, University of Oxford (From Blog post: A gentle introduction to Twitter for the apprehensive academic, Tuesday 14 June 2011. Accessed 10th February 2013)

You don’t need to follow everybody, you can select who you follow so that you don’t have to know what Lady GaGa has had for breakfast.

To stop the “noise” on twitter be selective about who you follow and run keyword searches to seek information you want.

Think of it as a radio that is playing all the time in the background. You can tune in and out of it when you want to and if something particularly good has happened you can search for it – just as you could look up a radio show on BoB or iPlayer if you missed it but everyone says you should hear it.

Twitter is excellent for networking and connecting with researchers with similar interests. You can also follow most conferences on Twitter using hashtags, so even if you can’t get to a conference or seminar you can find out what is happening.

A big concern for many researchers is managing their online identity. This video from the University of Warwick explains why you don’t need to worry too much:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-OoKA2RGRM

If you need more convincing here is a personal journey through Twitter:

http://youtu.be/sY6hqkGvb1c

When using Twitter for research it is helpful to ask effective questions. This blog post gives some advice.

We also have an introduction to Twitter here.

Further information:

Twitter: Keeping Up to Date

You have probably heard of twitter. I expect you have seen stories about celebrities tweeting and how news stories are broken on twitter but …

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a microblogging site. In plain English this is somewhere people can post information in 140 characters. Other people can then follow them to see their updates. People on the site then follow It is a skill to distill an idea into 140 characters!

How do I use Twitter?

Firstly – how you use it is up to you. Twitter is all about sharing, learning and gathering but you can be an observer or right in the middle of the conversation. Whatever suits you.

There are a lot of terms that you will hear used when people talk about Twitter. Twitter has a glossary but some key terms include:

# or hashtag: used to mark words or topics in a tweet. If you click in the hashtag you will see other tweets mentioning the same topic. This can be especially useful for tags for a conference or about a news story.

@ this is the symbol before the username I.e. @RHUL_library is our twitter username (or handle)

Mentions: when you want to mention a company or publicly message someone you can use their Twitter name.

Retweet: this is when you forward a tweet to other users. (abbreviated to RT)

Trending topics: when a topic is being discussed a lot on twitter it trends.

Why should you be on Twitter?

Learn about business – Find out what influential people in your subject area are thinking

Networking – start conversations and get to know your peers.

Keeping up to date – often Twitter is the first place people find out about major news events. It is also very useful if you commute or have to travel at all as this post I did illustrates.

Sharing – not just funny pictures of cute animals or you tube videos of dogs chasing deer but ideas, information and opinions (be careful on the opinions bit though. Tweets have a long lifespan).

Get answers – if you are stuck with something ask Twitter and often the answer will appear. There are a lot of clever people on Twitter.

Entertainment – Twitter is full of jokes, funny videos and quick wit. Follow celebrities, especially comedians and you will laugh a lot.

Compliment / Complain – had great service?

Tweet about it and let others know when a brand does well. Had bad service? Same applies. Also most companies take Twitter seriously so they will respond to complaints as they are public.

What do you have to do?

Nothing! If you want you can register for an account, follow people and not interact at all. However this won’t give you the best experience.

One top tip is to put up a photo. It doesn’t have to be you but it is good if it is. Otherwise you’ll just be an egg. Also put something in the profile, again it could just be “I like chocolate” but it makes you more “you”. If you want to get followers put in key words such as your subject area or location.

Unless you have protected your tweets anyone can follow you and you don’t have to follow them back but you can block people if you don’t want to see what people are saying.

Twitter works best when you take part in it. You need to interact with people on there otherwise you’re basically the person sitting in the corner listening in on other people’s conversations but turning away when people try to talk to you. It can be daunting sending that first message to someone you don’t really know but what’s the worst that will happen? They might ignore you but unless they’re a celebrity who gets hundreds or thousands of messages it’s unlikely (and if they are a celebrity they might just reply if what you say is relevant).

Twitter allows you to interact with people, you can retweet, reply to and ask questions of people you might ordinarily have no contact with but remember to be polite – say hello and introduce yourself.

This blog post gives some good points on Twitter etiquette but here’s a top 5:

1. Give as much information as possible in your Twitter Bio – so people know who you are and if they want to follow you.

2. Credit people when you share links or informatio – you don’t want to plagiarise do you?

3. Don’t just tweet your every move  – how boring would that be in real life? (and if for some reason you are tweeting more than usual i.e. at a conference warn followers so they can mute you (Muuter .com allows you to mute people or keywords)

4. Don’t expect anything in return for information  – it is all about gving not receiving.

5. Say Thank-you – if you receive information or someone retweets you then it is polite to say thank-you.

Of course if you don’t want to know the results of a TV show, football match or the Oscars you need to avoid twitter, much like that episode of Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads where they spend the day avoiding the football score.

Get Tweeting (and don’t forget to follow us – @RHUL_library )