Getting started with twitteR in R

June 13, 2013
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I have asked by a few people lately to help walk them through using twitter API in R, and I’ve always just directed them to the blog post I wrote last year during the US presidential debates not knowing that Twitter had changed a few things. Having my interest peaked through a potential project at work I tried using some of my old code only to confronted with errors.

First of all, you now need to have a consumer key and secret from twitter themselves. After some research, I found it really easy to get one by going to twitter and creating a new applications.  Don’t be discouraged, anyone can get one.  Here is what the page looks like:

Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 4.12.47 PM

Enter your name, brief description, and a website (you can use your blog or a place holder), and once you agree it will give you a screen like this where you get your consumer key and secret:key

You now have to authenticate within R by inserting your consumer key and secret into this code:

 getTwitterOAuth(consumer_key, consumer_secret)

It should spit out text and uri to get and input a pin, like:

To enable the connection, please direct your web browser to:

https://api.twitter.com/oauth/authorize?oauth_token=xpf0KGiALpjeChEQvWfP6HqV31VnpZKSs

When complete, record the PIN given to you and provide it here:

You are now ready to use the searchTwitter() function. Since I work in real estate software, Kwelia, I wanted to do sentiment analysis for apartment hunting in manhattan, so I wrote out the following:

searchTwitter('apartment hunting', geocode='40.7361,-73.9901,5mi',  n=5000, retryOnRateLimit=1)

where “apartment hunting” is what I am searching for, the geocode is a lat long with greater circle of five miles of where the tweets are sent from (union square, manhattan), n is the number of tweets i want, and retweet modifies n to the limit of tweets available if n is too high. In this case you, I got back 177 tweets.

QED

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