UK firm DataSift offers Twitter archive search


by Steve Evans| 28 February 2012

Companies can now mine two years worth of tweets

Twitter may be one of the darlings of the social media space at the moment but regular users will be well aware how time-consuming and frustrating searching through data on the site can be. Now a UK company is hoping to take away that pain by offering businesses the ability to search through and analyse two years of Twitter updates.

UK-based DataSift said the platform, called Historics, is the first to offer a full two year archive search. Other similar services only offer a 30-day search, DataSift says, while most users only have access to seven days of Twitter data.

As well as searching through the Twitter firehose (the huge amount of information the service creates each day), Historics will also analyse the information, including sentiment analysis, and also provide information on location and other data.

It can also look at the social media influence of the Tweeter, made popular by services such as Klout and PeerIndex.

DataSift says this is perfect for marketers or anyone who needs to keep on top of brand mentions or customer sentiment.

According to DataSift's website, prices for the Historics service will start at $1,000 per month for individuals or developers, for which users get 7,500 data processing units (DPU) hours. DPU is a 'metric of stream processing complexity', the company says. At the top end of the scale big organisations can get their hands on 250,000 DPU hours for $15,000 per month.

Twitter will earn money from licensing its data to DataSift.

Any user who has their account set to private will not be index, and deleted accounts and tweets will also be ignored. But the move has still raised concerns with security watchers. Graham Cluley of Sophos says that some worried users may think about deleting their tweets.

"If you aren't comfortable with firms being able to mine your past tweets - and potentially gather information about you - you may wish to delete your old postings and think more carefully about what you share publicly on the internet in future," he wrote.

"Remember this - whether you use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or indeed any other website - if you don't want it to become public, don't post it on the internet," he added.

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