Skip main navigation

Using a Twitter Data Harvester in Google Sheets

Watch Dr. Mathei's tutorial on how to use a Google Sheet to manipulate data using TAGS.
This video will focus on how to use a simple Twitter harvester all built around Google Spreadsheets. This harvester is named TAGS. The tutorial shows how to harvest any number of Tweets within reason and with some limits that are significant in themselves about the person, a topic or a place. The tool will walk the student from a simple question to a table of information. TAGS will show how simple and effective social media analysis can be. This course uses Google Sheets as the tool instead of Excel because it’s expandable. Google Sheets are a vendor neutral place to learn that assignments without having to pay for or learn to use more industry specific applications.
To use the TAGS harvester, you go to the website, And you simply click on the button that allows you to make a copy of a Google Spreadsheet. The Google Spreadsheet will pop in your browser immediately. And all you have to do is to plug in the word, or the hashtag, or the handle, that you wanna query Twitter for. Let’s just say that we would like to search for SCOTUS, the Supreme Court of the United States.
All you have to do is to run the query, run now. In about ten to 15 seconds, you’ll get a full spreadsheet up to 3,000 tweets that have been issued in the last several hours or several days about the topic you want an information about. Right now we got almost 3,000 tweets, as you can see. Going all the way to the bottom of the spreadsheet, actually more 4,289. And for each tweet, we have the full text of the status update. We have the date, when the tweet was created. We have the username of the user who created it. But most important, we have performance information. We have the retweet count.
So for each tweet, we know how many times that tweet was retweeted. For example, we have a tweet that was retweeted 5,933 times. And not only that, but you can click on a link and see exactly who retweeted what and in what order. This is a very high velocity tweet, as you can see. So TAGS is a way to put together in a spreadsheet, data, tabular format. A lot of information, which can then be analyzed with more advanced techniques, which you will learn about more in this class.

We have already seen that data needs to be sorted, cleaned, and organised in such a way as to allow the analyst to interpret the outcomes. TAGS is a free Google Sheet template that lets you set up and run automated collections of search results from Twitter.

This tutorial will focus on how to use TAGS, a simple Twitter harvester built around Google Sheets, and it will show how simple and effective social media analysis can be. To get the most of out of this course and apply to your work, you’ll need to know some technology and statistics.

The tutorial shows you how to harvest any number of tweets (within reason, and with some limits that are significant in themselves) about a person, a topic, or a place.

Download TAGS and follow along in this tutorial.

  • The tool will walk you from a simple question to a table of information from which you can run some correlations and t-tests, plus some smart charts.

  • Try this on your Twitter account. Share your discoveries with the other learners. How did it work? Did you have any issues? What did you find?

Share your findings and help each other troubleshoot if necessary.

This article is from the free online

Digital Media Analytics: Introduction

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education