Aug 10, 2011 at 5:14 AM
Edited Aug 10, 2011 at 5:15 AM
The Twitter Search Network does not provide information about people who have searched for a term on Twitter. Instead, it provides information about people who have included the search term in their tweets.
Here are some points that I hope will answer your other questions. If I’ve missed anything, let me know.
* Each vertex that you get from running the Twitter Search Network represents a person who has tweeted the search term.
* Each edge represents either 1) a follows relationship between those people; or 2) a replies-to relationship in those people’s tweets; or 3) a mentions relationship in those people’s tweets; or 4) the tweets themselves, if they are not
replies-to or mentions. In case 4 the edges are self-loops (they connect the vertex to itself), which signify that the person tweeted the search term without mentioning or replying to any of the other people in the network.
* To make that concrete, let’s say John and Mary tweeted your search term, and you’ve checked all the options corresponding to cases 1 through 4. There will be one vertex for John and one for Mary. If John follows Mary, there will
be an edge between John and Mary (case 1). If John’s tweet was a reply to Mary, there will be another such edge (case 2). If John’s tweet mentioned Mary, there will be another such edge (case 3). And if John’s tweet neither
replied-to nor mentioned Mary, there will be a self-loop from John to John (case 4).
* John may have tweeted several times and mentioned the search term each time. In that case, there would be one or more edges for each tweet.
* Twitter rate limiting does not limit the size of the network you can get; it just makes getting the network take longer. If you hit the Twitter limit, NodeXL will pause for about an hour and then continue getting the rest of the network when it wakes
up. So if you ask for a big network you’ll eventually get it.
* If you are seeing only 1,000 vertices, it’s probably because you have “Limit to” checked. Uncheck it and you will get up to 1,500 vertices, which is the maximum that Twitter will provide. (Twitter actually provides up to 1,500
tweets, which could result in fewer than 1,500 vertices if someone tweeted the search term in multiple tweets.)
* The returned tweets are not random. They are the most recent tweets that contain the search term. They are not by geographic location.
* Because people are constantly tweeting, today's network may look very different tomorrow.
I am considering adding this as a topic in the NodeXL help system (NodeXL, Help, Help in the Ribbon). The way it all works is not very obvious.