A Quick Lesson on Capturing and Displaying Tweets

If you’ve been following #MuseumNext, you may have seen the fantastic interactive of Twitter conversations created by Andrea Ledesma. During #UpstateSocial16, I shared a circular dendrogram that showed the location of individuals who were using the conference’s hashtag.

What these both have in common, is that they are using TAGS 6.1 to capture tweets.

TAGS 6.1 was created by Martin Hawksey, and is in my opinion one of the best ways to collect tweets that use the same hashtag. TAGS is a free Google Spreadsheet template that allows you to run an automated collection of any tweets that use a specific hashtag.

Both Andrea and Martin have excellent tutorials on how to use TAGS, but the basic steps are:

  1. Click Get TAGS (either version works great, but I’d suggest 6.1 if you’ve never used it before)
  2. Click the TAGS tab at the top, and set up your Twitter access. Twitter requires a connection to use their API (API = Application program interface, and is a tool that allows software components to communicate. In this instance, the API talks to Google Drive).
  3. Enter your hashtag and date range (limited to last seven days, so plan ahead), and press run!
  4. If you want it to collect tweets every hour, go to the TAGS tab and click update every hour.

The TAGS interface alone has some pretty amazing features such as TAGS explorer, which allows you to track conversations, TAGS Dashboard, which creates summaries of hashtag use, and other awesome tools.

But lets take it one step further. You’ve got your tweets (or you can download my #UpstateSocial16 tweets here), and you want to create a chart. Maybe to learn more about who was tweeting, how many times they did, or maybe you just want to share something pretty and show off your digital prowess.

RAW is a visualization tool that allows you to make beautiful looking diagrams without having to do the legwork. Simply copy and paste your tabular data into the box at the top of the page, and go! Here’s a couple sample tables to get you started.

Circular Dendrogram of #UpstateSocial16 User Locations

  1. Copy tabular data you want to use (download my #UpstateSocial16 tweets here)
  2. Paste data into the box at the top of the page
  3. Scroll down and click Circular Dendrogram
  4. Scroll to the bottom and select “user_location”, then below that place “from_user”

You should now have this cool dendrogram that you can download or embed into your websitedendroPretty cool, right? And super easy? Try it out for yourself and see what interesting diagrams you can create!

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