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Wednesday 20 Jan 2016Extracting Information from Social Media using R

Julian Stander - Plymouth University

Fitzroy Building 205, Plymouth University 14:00-15:00

In this short talk we will present recent work with Luciana Dalla Valle and Andrea Baldino on using R to extract information from Facebook and Twitter. We will describe some applications of the Rfacebook package written by Pablo Barbera and Michael Piccirilli and of the twitteR package written by Je Gentry. For Facebook we will illustrate how the average number of likes, comments and shares across posts to a page change with time. We will discuss some of the character manipulation code that we have developed to clean and process posts. We will then see the graphical presentation of word counts using bar plots and word clouds. We will also outline a simple form of Sentiment Analysis and the presentation of its results. We nish our treatment of the analysis of data available from Facebook by displaying the friends of a user as a network.

At the time of writing, Twitter allows us to download a somewhat richer data set than Facebook. As with Facebook, we can obtain word counts, produce word clouds and perform Sentiment Analyses for sets of tweets. We can also assess how the number of tweets varies across day and time. We can extract information for individual users including their followers and those whom they are following. We nish by illustrating the results of a cluster analysis on this set of followers and followed. Depending on the bravery of the speaker, some of these techniques may be demonstrated live using R.

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