Social Media Combine

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This suite of tools is co-created by North Caroline State University and MIT, by a large team of students and faculty. Designed to archive Instagram and Twitter feeds. Social Media Combine currently runs on Windows, Mac or Linux, but requires users to install Git and Vagrant before installing the software.

Usability IconUsability
Social Media Combine is still in its alpha version, and I suspect that as time goes on that it will become more user-friendly. However, as it currently stands it requires a lot of technical expertise to download and install. Like other Twitter scrapers it requires an OAuth token to be acquired for each individual installation, but the design team is currently negotiating a blanket educational OAuth token that would be embedded in the software for all users. Currently, this is not for the layperson, but the development team’s size and grant funding makes this a promising tool to keep your eyes on.

Blue Ribbon IconContent Quality
Ultimately, I was unable to get this software package to work, so I am basing this review on the materials available at the development site. The scraper pulls the past 3200 tweets from each account identified in the program (you are entering specific Twitter handles to archive) at the time of the feed collection. The system pulls the account name, date/time stamp, the tweet text including (@ and # info). It does not collect images or videos. It does collect the number of retweets and faves, but does not include a followers list.

Dollar symbol iconAffordability
Theoretically free as this is an open-source software system of tools. However, if you are not a code-monkey than you are most likely going to need assistance setting up and configuring this program. Though it doesn’t require a dedicated computer to run, it is recommended.

File Exchange IconPortability
Export files are available as a CVS (comma separated values) file that is viewable in Excel and can be imported into MySQL or other database management systems. Perhaps the most interesting element of the portability, is the export configurations available: (1) single account-everything scraped for a single user; or (2) “mysets”-user defined parameters of multiple accounts and specific time-periods.