A Day of Collecting with Social Feed Manager

On May 4, 2017, 4,036,796 tweets, 21 Tumblr posts, 436 weibos, and 40,728 web resources were collected with Social Feed Manager at George Washington University. We don’t look at our collecting in aggregate, so I don’t know if this is a typical day; it just happens to be the day I decided to write this blog post.

To give a sense of what is collected by whom, I’m going to describe the active collections. This does not include collections that are completed. That would be a really long list.

The SFM team curates a number of collections that we collect proactively, in anticipation of them being used for research on campus. These include:

  • 115th U.S. Congress: Yes, the tweets of every senator and representative (and a bunch of committees and caucuses too).
  • News outlets: 4,300 Twitter accounts from newspapers, periodicals, digital, television, and radio including international, national, and local news organizations. This is one of our oldest collections, carried over from old-SFM but significantly expanded recently with newspapers from the USNPL and organizations accredited to cover Congress and the White House.
  • Trump Administration:
    • Administration Officials: We follow the Twitter accounts of 90 administration officials.
    • Build the Wall: A Twitter filter collecting “#Wall, #BuildThatWall, #BuildTheWall, build wall, build the wall, build that wall.”
    • Healthcare: A Twitter filter collecting “healthcare, health care, health-care, #ACA, #AHCA, ACARepeal, Trumpcare, Obamacare, ProtectOurCare, Ryancare.”
    • Make America Great Again: A Twitter filter collecting “#MakeAmericaGreatAgain, #MAGA, Make America Great Again.”
    • Trump opposition: A Twitter filter collecting “#notmypresident, #ResistTrump, #NeverTrump, #Resist, #DisruptJ20, #TheResistance, #TrumpLeaks.”
  • 2017-2020 Federal Term: Around 3,000 Twitter accounts and 70 Tumblr blogs from U.S. federal agencies. This is a follow-on to collecting performed as part of the End of Term web archive.

The collections by colleagues at GW Libraries are:

  • China Anti-Corruption: As part of a grant from the Council of East Asian Libraries, tweets and weibos related to the Chinese anti-corruption campaign are being collected.
  • GWU: Our University Archivist is collecting GWU-related social media. These include:
    • Official GW: 115 official Twitter accounts and 9 Flickr accounts.
    • Unofficial GW: 275 Twitter accounts that are not officially sanctioned or managed by the university, e.g., student groups. (This is an experiment; it hasn’t been decided whether to retain this social media data.)
  • Okinawa U.S. Military Base Relocation: The Global Resource Center is collecting Twitter accounts and running a filter (“#辺野古, #高江, #ヘリパッド建設反対, #沖縄基地問題, #沖縄は日本だ, #オール沖縄, #takae, #henoko, #okinawa”) related to the relocation of the U.S. base on Okinawa.

The GW’s Program on Extremism is collecting:

  • ISIS-related Twitter User Timelines: Almost a 1,000 Twitter accounts suspected of ISIS affiliation. A fascinating game of cat-and-mouse, as these accounts tend to pop up and disappear quickly.

Some of the faculty collections include:

  • Latin American Political Leaders: An on-going collection of the tweets of Latin American politicians by a faculty member of the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA).
  • Beltway reporters: 1,900 reporters credentialed to cover the White House and Congress collected by an SMPA faculty member.

Students from all over campus are collecting on a range of topics, including:

  • Terrorist Failure Responses: A student investigating how terrorist groups respond to military and political failures is collecting a handful of accounts related to terrorist-related groups.
  • Stock Tickers: A grad student is running a dozen Twitter filters, each collecting the stock ticker symbol of a number of companies.
  • White Washing: A twitter filter collecting “#whitewashing, #yellowface” as part of an undergraduate research project on Hollywood casting.
  • Muslim Women in the Media: A student is researching the portrayal of Muslim women in the media. To support this, she is collecting the tweets from 30 news outlets and running a filter on “Muslim women, Muslim woman, hijab, veil, niqab, veil ban, hijab ban, women violence, voile, Musulmane, kopftuch, Muslimische, Islam femme, Islam women, islamophobia, islamophobie, Muslim violence, violence musulmane”.
  • HPV: A grad student is tracking the hashtag #hpv to study attitudes toward vaccination.
  • Food Security: A twitter filter collecting “hunger, famine, foodsecurity, foodinsecurity, starvation, food security, food insecurity.”

Not bad for a Thursday at the end of the semester …

As you can tell, SFM is used to collect social media data on a wide variety of topics; the SFM team never ceases to be amazed by the creativity of GW students and faculty. We look forward to the seeing the research that is the outcome of this crop of collecting.