Analysis of social media messages

Image: Michele Ursino (CC License)

There is a growing interest from companies, governments and universities in the daily communication that takes place on online social media such as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. Linguists and researchers in communication studies can use this data to study language variation and change. Companies may track reputation of a product after its introduction. Journalists may follow the spread of news messages and spot initial local reports of incidents. Police may monitor Twitter for suspicious behavior. However, the amount of social media data is large and obtaining specific parts that are interesting for a certain purpose, is not easy.

This project has developed a centralized service for gathering, storing, and analyzing Dutch Twitter messages and making available derived information to researchers in throughout the Netherlands.

In 2014, TwiNL performed a sentiment analysis on Dutch tweets. This resulted in the article Even on a blue Monday we are happy on Twitter in the newspaper Volkskrant (20 januari 2014). The service was based on an existing system set up at the University of Groningen with infrastructure from SURFsara - mapping these tweets is a very computing-intensive activity. The Twitter API is constantly harvested and the resulting data stored. Interfaces to this data provide users with a number of analysis tools that can be run on all content and metadata.

Participating organisations

Erasmus University Rotterdam
Netherlands eScience Center
Radboud University Nijmegen
University of Amsterdam
Social Sciences & Humanities
Social Sciences & Humanities
University of Groningen
University of Twente




Jisk Attema
eScience Coordinator
Netherlands eScience Center
Antal van den Bosch
Principal investigator
Radboud University Nijmegen
Erik Tjong Kim Sang
eScience Research Engineer
Netherlands eScience Center

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