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Twitter Scraper

Twitter makes it hard to get all of a user's tweets (assuming they have more than 3200). This is a way to get around that using Python, Selenium, and Tweepy.

Essentially, we will use Selenium to open up a browser and automatically visit Twitter's search page, searching for a single user's tweets on a single day. If we want all tweets from 2015, we will check all 365 days / pages. This would be a nightmare to do manually, so the scrape.py script does it all for you - all you have to do is input a date range and a twitter user handle, and wait for it to finish.

The scrape.py script collects tweet ids. If you know a tweet's id number, you can get all the information available about that tweet using Tweepy - text, timestamp, number of retweets / replies / favorites, geolocation, etc. Tweepy uses Twitter's API, so you will need to get API keys. Once you have them, you can run the get_metadata.py script.

Requirements

  • basic knowledge on how to use a terminal
  • Safari 10+ with 'Allow Remote Automation' option enabled in Safari's Develop menu to control Safari via WebDriver.
  • python3
    • to check, in your terminal, enter python3
    • if you don't have it, check YouTube for installation instructions
  • pip or pip3
    • to check, in your terminal, enter pip or pip3
    • if you don't have it, again, check YouTube for installation instructions
  • selenium (3.0.1)
    • pip3 install selenium
  • tweepy (3.5.0)
    • pip3 install tweepy

Running the scraper

  • open up scrape.py and edit the user, start, and end variables (and save the file)
  • run python3 scrape.py
  • you'll see a browser pop up and output in the terminal
  • do some fun other task until it finishes
  • once it's done, it outputs all the tweet ids it found into all_ids.json
  • every time you run the scraper with different dates, it will add the new ids to the same file
    • it automatically removes duplicates so don't worry about small date overlaps

Troubleshooting the scraper

  • do you get a no such file error? you need to cd to the directory of scrape.py
  • do you get a driver error when you try and run the script?
    • open scrape.py and change the driver to use Chrome() or Firefox()
      • if neither work, google the error (you probably need to install a new driver)
  • does it seem like it's not collecting tweets for days that have tweets?
    • open scrape.py and change the delay variable to 2 or 3

Getting the metadata

  • first you'll need to get twitter API keys
  • put your keys into the sample_api_keys.json file
  • change the name of sample_api_keys.json to api_keys.json
  • open up get_metadata.py and edit the user variable (and save the file)
  • run python3 get_metadata.py
  • this will get metadata for every tweet id in all_ids.json
  • it will create 4 files
    • username.json (master file with all metadata)
    • username.zip (a zipped file of the master file with all metadata)
    • username_short.json (smaller master file with relevant metadata fields)
    • username.csv (csv version of the smaller master file)