For many academics, Twitter is an increasingly important source. Whether you love it or hate it, Twitter dominates information dissemination and discourse, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. However, actually sorting through Twitter — especially for large-scale projects — can be deceptively difficult, and a deterrent for would-be Twitter scholars. That is why Sifter will go through Twitter for you.
Sifter is a paid service — which will be discussed in greater detail below — which provides search and retrieve access for undeleted Tweets. Retrieved tweets are stored in an Enterprise DiscoverText account, which allows the user to perform data analytics on the Tweets. The DiscoverText account will be part of a fourteen day free trial, but for prolonged use the user will have to pay for account access.
However, Sifter can become prohibitively expensive. Each user can get three free estimates a day. Following that, it is $20 per day of data retrieval and $30 per 100,000 Tweets. Some more expensive purchases (over $500 and $1500, respectively) will receive longer DiscoverText trials with access added for additional users. There are no refunds. So prior to making your purchase, make sure that you have done enough research to know exactly what data you want, and which filters you’d like to use.
Have you used Sifter? Or DiscoverText? What was your experience like? Alternatively, do you have a free resource that you prefer to use for Twitter data analytics? Please let us know in the comments!