The Collaboratory supports research using social media data sources, with a focus on access and use of Twitter data. We provide consultation and instruction on a variety of tools and techniques, including the following:

  • Twitter's public API: Use the public API to quickly gather a large dataset of current or recent tweets. Open source tools are available to easily connect to the API through the command prompt, as a Python library, or an R package. We also support the use of Documenting the Now tools such as twarc.
  • Brandwatch: Brandwatch (formerly Crimson Hexagon) is a web-based library of social media posts (updated in real-time) and a social media analysis software platform. Historical Twitter data is available for 10 years back from the access date. 
  • NCapture: This browser-based plug-in feeds social media content, including tweets, into NVivo for analysis. The Collaboratory's suite of software includes NVivo 1 for PC/mac.

We are also interested in best practices for data access, use, and sharing; and we welcome hearing from users about how we can improve our support for research and teaching about social media.