Digital Humanities Initiative

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Archiving a # on Twitter?

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    Several grad students/ instructors in the Theatre department are starting an intercollegiate pedagogical experiment on Twitter this semester. We’re taking discussions in our acting classes at Brooklyn College, City College, and the College of Staten Island to the microblogging platform with the hashtag #ACTweets.

    Wondering if any of you know of a tool to archive a #, so we can maintain an active log of the experiment? Looking for something like this, perhaps:

    but for a # not a profile.

    All leads appreciated.


    Bob Kosovsky

    This has been a pressing issue since the demise of TwapperKeeper (which supposedly has been bought by HootSuite but is no longer free).

    Based on a suggestion from ProfHacker (of the Chronicle of Higher Education), I’ve been using Twilert for the past year. It works for me, though it took me a long time to get used to the website which lacks adequate instructions. You login with either a Google or Twitter account (remember which one you use and stick to it!) and then you can designate to receive tweets in email copies of whatever you request: hashtags, keywords, users, yourself, etc. You can have them send to you as often or infrequent as you like. (The meagre instructions don’t say but I suspect that Twilert can’t handle more than 100 tweets per unit of time – they certainly won’t send out an email with more than 100 tweets, so if you have a very active group, you might want to designate smaller units of time, say every 30 minutes.)

    Experiment with it using a frequently used hashtag, like: #digitalhumanities

    Bob Kosovsky

    I should add that I’m also experimenting with Storify, which has its own search (Twitter, Facebook, and other sites) and lets you curate what you want – all or selected tweets or other items. This program depends on the persistence of your tweets, so you should archive no later than the end of the day or maybe the next day.

    John D. Boy

    I used to do this using Topsy’s API. That’s probably still an option, but Topsy now requires an API key (which is free for limited use).

    The nice thing about using the API is that you can store the data in any format you like. I did this with the help of a Python script:


    You might check out Martin Hawksey’s TAGSExplorer – – which uses google spreadsheets to archive hashtags. Here’s an overview –

    Suzanne Tamang

    The service IFTTT (If This Then That) might be good. It’s just point some click, with minimal parameters to enter. But you do have to use the right recipe. For you, that would be #Hashtag Twitter -> Google Spreadsheet, or this one here:

    Basically, it replaces that “hashtag” part of Twitter’s feed, with your hashtag of interest, filters the relevant instances, and directs it to a Google Spreadsheet.

    There are other recipes too to pull from and send to Dropbox, Instragram and all that other stuff.

    Margaret Galvan

    Suzanne, I thought of IFTTT, too, but apparently Twitter’s API changes this past fall required the removal of all Twitter triggers from IFTTT.
    Story here:

    Kevin L. Ferguson

    This won’t help with Rayva’s initial question, but Martin Hawksey also recently wrote about a way to use Google Drive to keep a Twitter Archive “fresh.” For me it’s an even better solution than the now-broken IFTTT.

    Suzanne Tamang

    IFTTT works nicely, and very easy to set-up. I able to collect Superbowl tweets over the weekend. Rayya, if you sign-up, I can share the Superbowl tweet recipe and you can try it out for your hashtag.

    Also, just to be clear, I’m not into the Superbowl. I’d anything, I was completely confused no one was in the supermarket on Sunday. Just thought it was a good test.

    Suzanne Tamang

    I think maybe the confusion here is this term `Trigger’. In origin, Twitter is the trigger, but not the Trigger. The Trigger is an ATOM feed.

    Reading off Twitter feeds:

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