These are projects posted by the students of Dr. Gove Allen at Brigham Young University. These students have taken one semester-long course on VBA and generally have had no prior programming experience

Saturday, April 13, 2013

TwitterDeck the Social Media Analysis Spreadsheet

Twitter has become a very popular website that allows user to post short message to their friends online. Often these messages, aka “tweets,” include opinions about companies, commercials, or products. Increasingly, enterprises are mining this online data to understand their customers’ perceptions about their company and products. The problem is that while Twitter makes all of these tweets openly available on the internet, it can be very difficult to quickly organize and digest the information present in the millions of tweets online. The solution is TwitterDeck.

TwitterDeck is a basic Excel workbook and accompanying VBA scripts that query information from Twitter for tweets on a specific topic. Tweets are downloaded from the internet and then are evaluated as to whether each is saying positive or negative things the topic. All of the information is stored in an Access database. That data can be used to generate summary graphs about what percentage of tweets are positive or negative as well as plot them over time to see how perceptions change in response to external factors.

Since classifying tweets as positive or negative is very difficult for a computer, the process is highly customizable. Tweets are classified by looking for keywords. A list of keywords is found in the Excel workbook. There are two lists: “positive” and “negative.” If any of the keywords from either column is found in the tweet, that tweet will be classified as belonging to that category. Users are encouraged to add or remove words from these keyword lists to customize the classification process to better fit their industry.

While this system is not robust enough to provide a large enterprise with decision-making information, it does arm users with a general idea of what people are saying about them. This is ideal for basic analysis or for companies that cannot afford expensive commercial products.

The database excel sheet and write up for this project can be found here:

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