Archive of the #MLA12 Tweets from the Modern Language Association

(Awesome Update Saturday 1/7: Martin Hawskey built a tool that archives tweets from the last seven days.  He kindly produced a near-complete archive of #MLA12 that stretches back to Wednesday and beyond.  There’s a bit missing from Friday’s overwhelming chatter, but who cares!?   If you’d like to thank him, he’s in the blog comments or hit up his MASHe EdTech blog or thank him/follow him on Twitter!

And if you really want to see my archive, which is incomplete compared to the one linked above, read on.)

So here I was on my comfy couch in Columbus, Ohio, reading tweets from the 2012 Modern Language Association conference in Seattle. Like any good grad student of digital media and composition studies who’s stuck at home during a major conference, I was amped to see the hashtag #mla12 blowing up like crazy. Apparently every conference room at MLA ’12 has WiFi, which means the place has gone literally to the Twitter birds.  (Side note: 2012 Conference on College Composition and Communication, please follow this example.)

Anyway, @readywriting (Lee Skallerup) had made a Storify of Friday’s session S167, “The Fight for Public Higher Education.”  I sent that to one of my Ohio State grad school colleagues on Facebook because it’s directly related to his work, and another OSU grad student colleague said that she was having trouble keeping up with the #mla12 tweets and hoped she could catch up later.

And I thought, “Come to think of it, I’m having trouble keeping up with the tweets too.”  So I searched Twitter for the hashtag, hoping to see quite a few earlier hours’ worth of #mla12 goodness.  I got a measly few hours’ results; apparently this is a new annoying quirk of the Twitter API.  I went to Twapperkeeper thinking surely someone had set up a Twapperkeeper archive for #mla12.  Not only was there no archive, but Twapperkeeper has been sold to Hootsuite and went inactive today January 6 (Madame Irony, your timing is impeccable!).  So I cruised over to my Hootsuite account thinking I could self-archvie #mla12 there, and I found out that archiving on Hootsuite requires a pro account at $10/month.  And this grad student doesn’t have $10/month to archive conferences that she’s not even attending, much less organizing.

And search though I might, ask the Tweeps to point me to one though I might, I couldn’t find an existing archive of #mla12.

Commence a major moment of WTF and OMG.  This has got to be an oversight on my part.  Surely the digital humanists are archiving the conference at which they are so actively tweeting about archiving (among other things).

But just in case, I took matters into my own hands.  I’ve set up a simple Google Docs spreadsheet archive of #MLA12 tweets starting Friday, January 6 around 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.  Forgive me its primitive nature; it’s better than nothing.  And thanks to Martin for such crystal-clear directions and a Youtube video walkthrough on how to set up Twitter hashtag archives using a simple, pre-written Google Docs spreadsheet script!

If I am wrong and there is some archive of #mla12 that ran on Thursday and Friday, PLEASE tell us all about that in the comments.  I missed so many Tweets on Thursday and Friday that it hurts my brain to even think about it.

Leave a Comment:

Ben says

For those using R, I have some code that could easily be used for text mining and topic modeling the MLA12 tweet archive in Martin’s google sheet. You just need to download the archive page as a CSV file, then get the CSV file into R as a dataframe. The code is on github here and was put together to analyse tweets from the 2011 American Anthropological Association.

Martin Hawksey says

More than happy to keep it running (i’ve added it to my collection of other event archives 😉

PS this is what the #mla12 archive looks like when you put it in my visualisation tool

Jen says

Martin, you are awesome! Hundreds of English dorks are going to love you for that link. I hope you’ll humor us and leave it up until tomorrow night so that I can download a permanent copy at the end of the conference.

Martin Hawksey says

‘primitive nature’ I prefer to think of it as ‘raw glory’ 😉

I’m working on an updated version which includes tools to go grab tweets from the last 7 days (I often find event archives are an after thought so this helps extract the data) and some more summary data. You can see how it looks for #mla12 in it’s ‘raw glory’ here (unfortunately there was too much chatter on friday to get all the tweets but have now setup to collect data every hour so there shouldn’t be any more wholes)

@Lisa if you File > Make a copy of this doc you’ll get extra export options (I’m sure you already know the trick when a spreadsheet is published to web of changing the output in the url eg )


Lisa Rhody says

Engaged in a similar task of reading the tweet stream, I’ve been doing some social network analysis of the tweets each day. Hopefully I’ll have something to share by tomorrow. In the meantime, @samplereality (Mark Sample) started an archive on Wednesday/Thursday. If you search his twitter name, you can probably find it.

I love how you’ve embedded it here. Mark’s pulls up in a google doc, but the google doc doesn’t copy well. I wasn’t able to save the csv for my gephi or visione graphs.

Add Your Reply