A Short List of Good Tools to Research a Twitter Account

Geo Social Footprint

Geo Social Footprint (http://geosocialfootprint.com/) should show a twitter account’s geotagged tweets on a map and link to the tweets themselves. If you get an error message when you run a twitter account, like “map cannot display”, that often just means that there are no geotagged tweets. Based on the twitter api limitations, it is reasonable to guess that the tool looks at the last 4 thousand tweets.

For geo context, you can find what people nearby are tweeting about by using (https://www.omnisci.com/demos/tweetmap) or (https://onemilliontweetmap.com/).

Foller Me

Foller Me (https://foller.me/) gives similar info on an account (and is easier to read) such as when they joined but also gives a larger list of the people that researched account interacts with.

Twitonomy

Twitonomy (https://www.twitonomy.com/) performs analysis on the account as a whole, but you have to remember to search for an account and then actually click on the account name somewhere in the results. It gives information such as which accounts it tweets about or replies to most, how many times the account tends to tweet per day and from what kind of device, and how often they tend to tweet on given hours in the day or days in the week.

For example, at the very bottom of the results we here we see that the user of the @searchish_site account uses an Android phone and the search-ish wordpress account to Tweet.

Keep in mind that this tool is a little tricky at first. You have to search an account, and then in the initial results click on the account name again or click on Analyze a Twitter profile in order to get the full results.

Sleeping Time

For redundancy, Sleeping Time (http://sleepingtime.org/) also gives the hours of use for an account. But this tool gets right to the point and makes an educated guess about the hours of sleep so you don’t have to look into the data yourself and guess if an average of 3 hours at 4am means the person usually sleeps at that time or not.

Tweet Topic Explorer

Tweet Topic Explorer (http://tweettopicexplorer.neoformix.com/) identifies the most common words tweeted from the account (excluding useless words like “the”) and allows you to click on any of them to immediately see a list of the tweets with that word. Scan the map for words that might reflect important things about the account user like political views or profession.

See this post here for how to find an account’s closest friends.

Or, see this post, for how to manipulate data and view original posts, most important topics in content, or rank other accounts mentioned in tweets.

Tweet Beaver

Tweet Beaver (https://tweetbeaver.com/) has a variety of tools that are especially useful for assessing a relationship between two accounts (common followers, what have they tweeted at each other, etc.)

All My Tweets (https://www.allmytweets.net/) is a great tool to find an account’s first follower. Just select the account to search, click in “Followers” and it will give you a list of followers in chronological order, so scroll to the bottom. A number of investigative reporting guides suggest that the first follower is often a person that has a close relationship with the account holder.

This tool will also list all of an accounts tweets in a list or everything the account has “liked”

AccountAnalysis (https://accountanalysis.app/) this tool categorizes an account’s content to assess relationships and interests. It is similar to Tweet Topic Explorer in that in that it will analyze content of tweets and click on one thing (like a username) and the tool will identify the tweets that reference the account.

Below you see that for the analyzed account, the tool identifies the accounts that it replied to, retweeted, or quoted the most. This is a great way to quickly identify accounts that reflect your subject’s interests or associates. Tweet Topic Explorer takes more of a broad brush approach. But in this tool we can choose to focus on accounts that the subject account replied to rather than retweeted.

The tool lists Hashtags and URLs, which are a great way to figure out the account’s interests.

If you do not understand anything on the page, there is a very useful help section that details all of the analysis fields.

The only drawback of this tool is that you need to specifically request at the top if you want to analyze more than the last 200 tweets., Likewise at the bottom where it lists the tweets that reference the topic you clicked on, it will default to showing you 12 tweets and you have to click for it to load more. This presumably allows the tool to run faster and crash less.

What to look for with these tools?

Here are some key features to look for:

Views on primary topics – First, look at the main topics they discuss and then click on one of the bubbles to find all the tweets on the topic. Read through a few tweets to get the account user’s view on the matter. So for example if one of the main topics is “President”, you can read through the tweets to see if they are pro or against the president

Specific details of their life – look for topics in the small bubbles to find the errant tweets that reveal details about their life, so maybe the bubble that says “wife” will link to a tweet saying “…my ex wife….”

Find closest associates – look at main usernames that are in primary topics and (unless they are a celebrity), look at 5 of them in a row to find common features that can reflect the original account user.

Find relatives – use All My Tweets to list all followers and do a quick word search for the original account owner’s last name

The account’s first follower – this is often someone close to the user. Use All My Tweets to get a full list of the account’s followers. Scroll all the way to the bottom and you will see the first follower there.

Assess relationships – use Tweet Beaver to display “conversations” between the primary twitter account and its close associates. Do they interact or just retweet?

Location – If you cannot find the account owner’s location directly, consider looking for locations of close friends and family in their bios or Geo Social Footprint. Try to identify time zone based on Sleeping Time.

Are staff members tweeting – for famous / powerful individuals, the tweets sometimes come from the actual person or staff members. Often, tweets from the person come from a phone and at any hour while tweets from staff come from a computer during the day. Use Twitonomy to identify the platform used for individual or all tweets. If the tweet came from a phone (it will say “Twitter for Android” or “…Iphone” etc.) or a computer (“Twitter Web App”).

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