Community Data Science Course (Spring 2015)/Day 6 Project

From CommunityData

In this project, we will explore a few ways to gather data using the Twitter API. Once we've done that done, we will extend this to code to create our own datasets of tweets that we might be able to use to ask and answer questions in the final session.


  • Get set up to build datasets with the Twitter API
  • Have fun collecting different types of tweets using a variety of ways to search
  • Practice reading and extending other people's code
  • Create a few collections of Tweets you can do research with in the final section

Download and test the Twitter project[edit]

  1. Right click the following file, click "Save Target as..." or "Save link as...", and save it to your Desktop directory:
  2. Unpack the zip file as we have in previous projects.

Enter your API information[edit]

  • Start your text editor and navigate to the directory that contains Twitter API.
  • Open up the file in your text editor.
  • You will see four lines that include four strings that are being assigned to variables in ALL CAPITALS. At the moment, all of the strings say CHANGE_ME.
  • Go find the four keys, tokens, and secrets you created and wrote-down when you followed the Twitter authentication setup. Change every string that says CHANGE_ME into a string that includes the key, token, or secret you downloaded. Remember that since these are strings, we need to include quotations marks around them. Also make sure that you match up the right keys and tokens with the right variables.

Once you have done this, your example programs are set up to use the Twitter API!

Test the Twitter API code[edit]

Start up your terminal and navigate to the directory that contains your Twitter API code.

One of the files is "", which has a ".py" extension indicating that it is a Python script. Type:


at the command prompt to execute the Python script. Wait a little while while your computer connects to Twitter. You should see a series of tweets run by your screen. If you don't, let a member of the teaching team know.


You are done downloading the Twitter API project!