Collecting Data with TAGS

Created by Zach Francis

Last Updated: 12/16/2020

Overview

TAGS stands for Twitter Archiving Google Sheet. TAGS is a Twitter scraping tool which lets you automatically collect tweets into a google sheet. You can collect Tweets from specific people, a particular hashtag (#), or search terms.

Getting TAGS Running

In order to get TAGS you will need to have a Google Account and a Twitter Account. Once you have those accounts, you will need to create a TAGS Google Sheet and set up access to Twitter.

Necessary Accounts

You will need a Google and Twitter Account. Your MSU account will likely give you trouble if you attempt to use it with TAGS. A separate, non-MSU Google account that you have access to is your best option. If you do not have a Twitter account, go to Twitter and follow the instructions needed to create an account.

Creating your TAGS Google Sheet

Once you have the necessary accounts, you can create your own TAGS Google Sheet. Follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the TAGS website and press the Get Tags button on the homepage.
  2. You’ll have the option to select between TAGS v6.0 and TAGS v6.1. Unless you are familiar with version 6.0 already, then we recommend clicking on version TAGS 6.1.
  3. Clicking TAGS v6.1 will push your google account to ask you if you want to make a copy of the TAGS Google sheet. Click the make a copy. This will create a copy of TAGS in your Google Account as a Google Sheet.

Setting Up Twitter and Google Access

In order to start collecting tweets, you will have to give your Google Sheet access to your Twitter. Here are the steps:

  1. Select the the TAGS tab in your Menu bar and click Setup Twitter Access
  2. A pop-up will appear asking you how you would like to set up Twitter authorization. Press Easy Setup and follow the prompts.
    • At some point you will likely be asked to sign into Twitter - do so.
    • Google will ask you if you want to allow TAGS and Twitter to have access to your account. Grant them that access.
    • If you have authorization problems and get a page saying “This app isn’t verified”, you can continue to use TAGS by clicking on Advanced Settings and authorizing TAGS anyways. - Once you have Twitter and Google access setup, you may now start using TAGS

Using TAGS

Once you have given all of the proper permissions to TAGS, all you need to do is set up your search parameters and run the script. You may then download your data to begin your analysis.

Entering Search Terms

There are several advanced setting options in row 13 to 17 of your TAGS sheet. These functions are summarized below:

Scrapping Tweets

Once you have your search terms and settings in place, follow these steps to scrape Twitter for Tweets:

Downloading Your Data

Once you’ve scrapped some tweets, TAGS will provide you with a Google Sheet containing the actual Tweets, their creator, creation date and other metadata in the Archives section. Follow these steps to download your data:

  1. Go to the file tab
  2. Select download
  3. Choose the format that you want to download your data in and click on it.
    • Excel and .csv formats will work well in Voyant.

FAQ

How does TAGS work?

How does Twitter’s API affect my dataset?

If TAGS and Twitter give me a curated dataset, why are we using them?

How do I use this data?

How do I collect useful data?

My TAGS is not working or I did not get any results and want to do a new search. How do I reset?

Assessment

By the end of this tutorial, you should have TAGS and be able to scrape for tweets in a variety of ways. This should provide you tabulated datasets that can be very large. Visualizing this data will be the next step in your analysis.

Keep in mind that how you got the data, and how you choose to visualize it will greatly affect your analysis. There are a number of ways to visualize data, but one way to analyze and visualize the textual data of TAGS is through Voyant. Check out the LEADR tutorial on this subject to learn more.


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