Probably one way to make sense of activity of interest twitter is explore some numbers and visualization of them.

Data visualization gets technically gnarly quick, but my go to tool ever since he first announce it is Martin Hawksey’s Twitter TAGS

If you have a Google account, you can not only create a system to curate, archive tweets of interest (say all activity for a class or project marked by a hashtag), Twitter TAGs generates summaries of the information that can provide mote insight into activity:

The last one is the amazing-est!

In a busy network like Ontario Extend, it eventually assumes the same of the Star Wars Death Star- an inner core of highly connected persons and a periphery of people who fly by briefly. Lines represent connections by mention or retweet, and the size of the label is proportional to the person’s activity.

Screen shot of

That in itself might be interesting, but also just like a Big Hairball, but we are able to create direct links to look at the activity of one person, such as the Ontario Extend Twitter activity of Helen Dewaard

See what happens when you click “replay tweets”

When I use this in my class, I have my students use links like this to reflect on their own activity, and how it changes over time, in the network.

How do you find your link? When you visit the Conversation Explorer, it’s a matter of appending the URL with &name=YOURTWITTERNAME so for me I first go to the Big HairBall of Tweets, add to the end of the URL &name=cogdog, sit back, and enjoy. Or analyze.

We make it easier for people who have added their blogs to the Ontario Extend Domain of One’s own Hub/ Just find your listing in the list of all blogs (or say the listing for one cohort), and click the link for in TAGS Explorer.

Find your own Twitter TAGs data by looking for the link in the Meet the Extenders list

It’s quite easy to create a Twitter TAGs worksheet, and you can do it for more than just hashtags, it works with any kind of search you can come up in the Twitter interface.

I created a new Ontario Extend activity Archive, Analyze and Visualize Tweets with Your Own Twitter TAGS Worksheet that can hopefully get you started. To me, it’s Curator Module material.

Please give it a spin and share any ideas you have on what you might be able to do by extending with your own Twitter archiving and curation and analysis tool, all for the price of a free Google Spreadsheet.

Update: June 12, 2018

Developer of Twitter TAGs Martin Hawksey has shared an illustrated and well-explained guide to setting up Twitter Tags (Google Doc).

See also an August 2018 online short course in social media analytics that includes a section on using Twitter TAGs

Featured Image: Screenshot of the Twitter TAGs Conversation Explorer for #Ontario Extend which has assumed the traditional “death star” configuration. But it need not be destroyed by the Rebel Alliance,

Screen shot of

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. I’ve been using this for many years to great effect, and find it invaluable. But have you ever worked out a way to create an archive retrospectively?

    1. No, there limits as to how far back one can go with the API. And, you cannot be 100% sure you get every tweets, see

      Martin might have some magic, and otherwise, I think you are looking at fee-based services which might have the ability to crawl farther back. Always best to make a sheet at the start, says the Man With Full Hindsight Vision,

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