You might want to export tweets from Twitter to Excel if:
- you wanted to include tweets as part of your administrative record for a project or
- if you wanted to track what folks were saying in general about a roadway or an area on Twitter (i.e. Twitter search for I-35, an interstate in Texas).
Quick & Dirty Method for Exporting Tweets from Twitter to Excel
Here's how I extracted the tweets sent during the American Planning Association's 2010 conference, which you can read here http://www.cubitplanning.com/blog/2010/04/tweets-from-apa-2010-conference/. I used a free program called the Archivist. The Archivist is a Windows application that “allows you to archive tweets for later data-mining and analysis for a given search. The Archivist allows you to start a search and will get as many results as it can on the initial search. If you leave The Archivist open, it will update with the latest results every 10 minutes. You can also close The Archivist and open it later. The Archivist will save the tweets and get all the tweets it can since that search. The Archivist will display a chart that shows the number of tweets per day for a given search, so that you can quickly assess traffic for a given search. For more comprehensive data analysis, The Archivist lets you export Tweets to Excel.”
- Download the Archivist here: http://www.flotzam.com/archivist/
- Open the Archivist. In the search for box, enter your search term (I used #apa2010, the hashtag for the APA2010 conference). Click Get Latest.
- Bonus Points: While you're here, click on View and check out your Tweets as a Pie Chart and as a Line Chart. An example of a Line Chart of the #apa2010 tweets is below.
- Click on Export to Excel. Your tweets will be saved as a .txt file.
- Open the .txt file in Excel. Handy tip: if the data doesn't display nicely in columns in Excel, use the Text to Column feature in Excel to split the data out into columns.
But The Above Method Won't Work for an Administrative Record
Yes, you are correct! The above method worked perfectly for me when extracting tweets from the APA's 2010 conference; because I ran the search three days after the conference was over, and the conference only lasted a few days. I wasn’t worried about capturing tweets over a long period of time like the months or years it could take an EIS to be completed. Currently, Twitter stores your tweets for less than a month. The Twitter folks say that timeframe will be shrinking as the number of tweets per day continues to grow. If you want to include tweets about your project as part of the administrative record, you'll need to back them up.
How to Back Up Tweets to Include as Part of the Administrative Record
If you want to back up and save tweets to include as part of the Administrative Record, check out ReadWriteWeb's 10 Ways to Archive Your Tweets.
- If you don't consider yourself to be tech savy, I'd suggest going with option #8. Twitterback up tools. I've got a BackupMyTweets account.
- If you do consider yourself to be tech savy, I'd suggest #7. RSS Feeds and setting up a separate Google reader.
Let me know if you’ve got any questions about this process or if you’ve used any of these tools to successfully include tweets as part of your administrative record.