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ThinkUp: reclaim and analyze social network activities
November 30, 2011 10:43 AM   Subscribe

ThinkUp is a free, open source PHP/MySQL app that you install on your web server to collect and store all of your activity on social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. It can be used to search and backup your own social nework activities, create a time capsule of online activity, analyze social media discussions, or create a more interactive discussion. [via mefi projects]

More background on the app and the creators at Expert Labs (previously).
posted by filthy light thief (19 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
See also: ThinkUp Talk, monthly interactive discussions on ThinkUp (also on Soundcloud).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:06 AM on November 30, 2011


I followed the instructions and spun up a Amazon AWS version of this.

I've now learned in exquisite detail that no one retweets or converses with me on the twitters. Analytics!

For reals though, its really cool. And pretty easy to setup.
posted by stratastar at 11:23 AM on November 30, 2011


Wow. I was just wishing for something like this on my way home from work yesterday.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:41 AM on November 30, 2011


I appreciate having all my stuff in a useful format. The times I've tried the export function of Facebook for example, sucked.

The analysis stuff, meh. I could see that being useful if you were a public affairs office. For me it doesn't tell me anything surprising.

Easy install - well, for a fairly technically savvy person. What is the web server root directory? Oh shit, it thinks my email address to send my activation email is at example.com! How do I manually change that via ssh and mysql command line?

I managed to do it with no serious problems, but it wasn't fill-in-the-settings-and-go easy.
posted by ctmf at 11:41 AM on November 30, 2011


I am so looking forward to installing this on a WAMP server and checking it out. Sounds like a social media rosetta stone.
posted by Catblack at 11:43 AM on November 30, 2011


stratastar, I know. Nothing like graphs and charts to make you feel small in the sea of conversations (Steve Martin makes Twitter seem so vibrant and lively, with +2,989 followers per day and whatnot).

ctfm, I think this is a tool for many needs. For the casual user, it can back up your social media from sources that don't offer it natively (Twitter), or easily (Facebook). It also allows you to access beyond the usual limit of Twitter tweets, back to the 3200 most recent tweets.

On the public investigation/reporting side, MetaFilter's Own Andy Baio, one of the creators of this app, used it find any official US Govt. comments on the Occupy movement (as linked above: analyze social media discussions).
posted by filthy light thief at 11:52 AM on November 30, 2011


If you like playing with the infodump, this is it for your Facebook and twitter.

It would be easier if it was a hosted service you could sign up for. But then you'd be giving all your data to yet another someone to do nefarious things with.
posted by ctmf at 12:02 PM on November 30, 2011


One thing I wasn't clear on...can this be run on your standard shared hosting account? I'm thinking not - which is not a big deal for me I'll just have to install LAMP on my Ubuntu desktop at have a go at it that way.
posted by COD at 12:30 PM on November 30, 2011


I've now learned in exquisite detail that no one retweets or converses with me on the twitters. Analytics!

Yeah, I feel you there. I love ThinkUp, though. I only wish I'd started using it before I went over Twitter's cap on the number of tweets you can grab through their API -- part of the reason I wanted it was to archive all my toots, and sadly, no dice.
posted by middleclasstool at 12:46 PM on November 30, 2011


Count me as someone who's not entirely sure what the hype is. I installed it on AWS and pointed it to my work Twitter account. The back-up feature is kind of nice, as are some of the descriptive stats. But there is a ton of stuff it doesn't do; for instance, I'd like Backtype-like capability to view any tweet that links to our domain, all the recent favorites and retweets that I can see on the main dashboard are all from 2+ years ago. I'd love to see some basic semantic analysis: we follow too many people from that account to comprehensively read, but I'd still like some idea of what folks are talking about and how that changes. Instead, it mostly serves up barchart-type statistics that, while interesting, are just descriptive (and probably don't qualify as "analytics" per se).

I know, I know, gift horse in the mouth, ask for a refund, it's open-source so why don't you implement these things yourself, etc. I was just charged up about ThinkUp and now I'm not quite sure why.
posted by downing street memo at 1:10 PM on November 30, 2011


One thing I wasn't clear on...can this be run on your standard shared hosting account? I'm thinking not - which is not a big deal for me I'll just have to install LAMP on my Ubuntu desktop at have a go at it that way.


It should be. You basically just need to be able to give it db access.

The problem I ran into with running it on a desktop is that all the social plugins use OAuth to pull data, which means ThinkUp needs a publicly accessible URL. I ended up just moving it over to my web space and now it works, but it's an requirement that isn't immediately obvious.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:25 PM on November 30, 2011


So you enter your accounts on your server and they are accessed by this. How susceptible does that make you to man-in-the-middle attacks?
posted by lumpenprole at 5:25 PM on November 30, 2011


Speaking way over my grade level here but...

Unless you're giving out your private keys all willy nilly... none.
posted by stratastar at 5:32 PM on November 30, 2011


Wish I still had my domain and server. I suspect I would enjoy this. Of course, I might try Amazon, but I am poor to boot. Looks most cool though.
posted by Samizdata at 6:09 PM on November 30, 2011


The amazon option is free
posted by stratastar at 7:11 PM on November 30, 2011


The amazon option is free

More or less. Here's the info.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 7:59 PM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


So you enter your accounts on your server and they are accessed by this. How susceptible does that make you to man-in-the-middle attacks?

Man in the middle has a fairly technical meaning relating to eaves dropping on private conversations.
posted by delmoi at 9:31 PM on November 30, 2011


Er, eaves dropping on private conversations encrypted with public-key crypto.
posted by delmoi at 9:31 PM on November 30, 2011


downing street memo: I agree with a lot of what you said, and it looks like there's some tools built off of the ThinkUp API that can address a few of your points. Check out ThinkBack, for example. It seems to do some of the textual analysis that you're looking for.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:12 AM on December 1, 2011


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