"Mining" twitter for my "Twitteraniversary"

So apparently today it has been three years since I created my twitter account, yay! However I feel like it was just a year ago that I started using it seriously… maybe 2? Was I using it before? I definitely think I had a “disconnection” period from twitter at some point…

I was asking myself these questions on the bus today, so I decided that it could be a fun exercise to actually answer these questions with facts. How? Well, fortunately you can pick up all the information you want from twitter using their complete API, and that’s what I did :-).

Just with a first call to the /account/verify_credentials.json API, you already get a lot of information:

{   "created_at": "Sun Sep 25 09:09:01 +0000 2011",
    "description": "Computer scientist. Passionate about new technologies, programming languages and geeky stuff in general. Very interested in bioinformatics.",
    "favourites_count": 37,
    "followers_count": 68,
    "friends_count": 72,
    "lang": "en",
    "listed_count": 2,
    "location": "Stockholm",
    "name": "Guillermo Carrasco",
    "screen_name": "guillemch",
    "status": {   "created_at": "Fri Sep 26 06:39:32 +0000 2014",
                  "favorite_count": 1,
                  "favorited": False,
                  "hashtags": ["Twitterversary"],
                  "id": 515390196389801984,
                  "lang": "en",
                  "retweeted": False,
                  "source": "Twitter for Android",
                  "text": "#Twitterversary it's 3 years in twitter today! (Only one using it actually xD)",
                  "truncated": False},
    "statuses_count": 376,
    "time_zone": "Stockholm",
    "utc_offset": 7200}

Isn’t it cool? One day like today in 2011 I created my account, and I already have some of the stuff I wanted:

  • 37 favorited tweets
  • 376 tweets in total
  • A mean of 0,34 tweets/day! You’ll not complain that I’m too verbose if you follow me…

This plot represents the number of tweets over time:

As I suspected… I was actually some time without tweeting anything: From February 24th 2012 to Aug 26th 2012. Not a year, but a couple of months.

I find interesting my tendency of not tweeting more that once per day. This is something that I actually try to do consciously, I find annoying people that tweets too much and floods your timeline. Yes okay, sometimes I can tweet 2, 3 or even go crazy an throw 4 tweets per day, but not too often.

Now, we may want to be a bit more precise, right? For example this number, 376 tweets… how many are actually mine, and not retweeted? Twitter API documentation says:

Retweets can be distinguished from typical Tweets by the existence of a retweeted_status attribute

So if we group the tweets by the field “retweeted_status” it turns out that only 173 tweets are mine! Thats slightly less than 50% of them. I think it’s ok, a good balance between speaking and listening.

It is actually fun to play around with the Twitter API, you can keep answering silly questions like the one before:

  • What’s my most favorited tweet? 4 favorites, and it goes for the tweet for my last blog post, so let’s see if I can improve it this time ;-)
  • What’s my most retweeted tweet? A tweet where I asked for help to Genomics people on filling up a survey (that I still have to parse, shame on me!), with 8 retweets

I think that you get the idea. I highly recommend you to play around with this, it is quite fun! And you don’t have to code anything if you don’t want to, just use the ipython notebook that I wrote for doing my analysis, either raw code or the final result. There are lots of explanations about what I’m doing :-)

Hope you have fun, if you did, share!

Guillermo Carrasco

In automation, we trust.