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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsJean: Social media can feel noisy. How can we get beyond the day to day to see the big picture? What if you could unlock the meaning behind all the noise? How can we reveal the conversations inside the huge amounts of data we generate everyday?

Skip to 0 minutes and 22 secondsAxel: Maybe you're an activist who wants to know who's saying what about climate change, or you want to know what people really think about your product or service. Digital methods can help you discover a whole world of meaningful data, and make sense of it, no matter what you're interested in. What will you find?

Skip to 0 minutes and 38 secondsTim: This course will take you through a step-by-step approach to making sense of social media conversations on Twitter. From forming a research question to visualising your data, your quest will be to find answers that are personally meaningful to you. You will learn these tools and techniques from world leaders in social media research, based at the Digital Media Research Centre at QUT. We will share real case studies in politics, crises and other events we've studied using social data.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 secondsWe'll also look at the big picture: what is the value of social media? What does it mean to our everyday lives? What are the implications? You will be able to share your own ideas and work with your peers, and use what you learn in your life beyond this course.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 secondsAxel: It's about you being part of conversations and understanding those conversations.

Skip to 1 minute and 22 secondsJean: Join us, and start making sense of social media. Welcome to Social Media Analytics: Using Data to Understand Public Conversations.

About the course

From the personal to the political, social media conversations are at the heart of cultural and social change. In this course you will be introduced to digital methods to analyse social media data on Twitter. You will learn from leading researchers, engage in hands-on activities and confront issues in social media data.

Week 1: Understanding and gathering

We uncover the anatomy of a tweet and the cultural politics of Twitter. You will decide what you want to analyse: a company hashtag? A campaign hashtag? A cultural reference? You will learn to use TAGS, a free and open framework for accessing the data you need, and discuss the implications of accessing these data. What are the restrictions? What about user privacy and ethics?

Week 2: Analysing

You will encounter Tableau, a desktop software for analysing your data without complex scripts or code. You will learn how to identify trends, patterns and variances in your data. You will also see real examples of how analyses of social media have been used in times of crisis and during political campaigns, and explore the pros and cons of analysing social media data in real time.

Week 3: Visualising

You will use the software Gephi to visualise the networks in your data. We will discuss the benefits of using digital tools to analyse social media data, and also consider how such analyses may be supported by other methods. We will see the results of real social media analyses, and revisit the concept of user privacy.


Everything you need to succeed in this course is provided, or can be downloaded for free. There is no special prior experience or knowledge required to join in. To make the most of this course, learners will need to

  • install or access the following tools: TAGS, Tableau and Gephi
  • use a laptop or desktop computer so you can install and complete activities with these tools
  • have already or create both a Google and Twitter account

We will guide you through the setup of these tools, step by step, as you progress through the content of the course. The use of these tools is what will really give you a powerful learning experience, letting you explore your own interests and put the theory to the test.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £59.00

Statement of Participation £39.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.