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Twitter users around the world post around 350,000 new Tweets every minute, creating 6,000 140-character long pieces of information every second. Twitter is now a hugely valuable resource from which you can extract insights by using text mining tools like sentiment analysis.

Within the social chatter being generated every second, there are vast amounts of hugely valuable insights waiting to be extracted. With sentiment analysis, we can generate insights about consumers’ reactions to announcements, opinions on products or brands, and even track opinion about events as they unfold. For this reason, you’ll often hear sentiment analysis referred to as “opinion mining”.

With this in mind, we decided to put together a useful tool built on a single Python script to help you get started mining public opinion on Twitter.

What the script does

Using this one script you can gather Tweets with the Twitter API, analyze their sentiment with the AYLIEN Text Analysis API, and visualize the results with matplotlib – all for free. The script also provides a visualization and saves the results for you neatly in a CSV file to make the reporting and analysis a little bit smoother.

Here are some of the cool things you do with this script:

  • Understand the public’s reaction to news or events on Twitter
  • Measure the voice of your customers and their opinions on you or your competitors
  • Generate sales leads by identifying negative mentions of your competitors

You can see the script running a sample analysis of 50 Tweets mentioning Tesla in our example GIF below – storing the results in a CSV file and showing a visualization. The beauty of the script is you can search for whatever you like and it will run your tweets through the same analysis pipeline. 😉

Tesla Sentiment

 

Installing the dependencies & getting API keys

Since doing a sentiment analysis of Tweets with our API is so easy, installing the libraries and getting your API keys is by far the most time-consuming part of this blog.

We’ve collected them here as a four-step to do list:

  1. Make sure you have the following libraries installed (which you can do with pip):
  1. Get API keys for Twitter:
  • Getting the API keys from Twitter Developer (which you can do here) is the most time consuming part of this process, but this video can help you if you get lost.
  • What it costs & what you get: the free Twitter plan lets you download 100 Tweets per search, and you can search Tweets from the previous seven days. If you want to upgrade from either of these limits, you’ll need to pay for the Enterprise plan ($$)
  1. Get API keys for AYLIEN:
  • To do the sentiment analysis, you’ll need to sign up for our Text API’s free plan and grab your API keys, which you can do here.
  • What it costs & what you get: the free Text API plan lets you analyze 30,000 pieces of text per month (1,000 per day). If you want to make more than 1,000 calls per day, our Micro plan lets you analyze 80,000 pieces of text for ($49/month)
  1. Copy, paste, and run the script below!

 

The Python script

When you run this script it will ask you to specify what term you want to search Tweets for, and then to specify how many Tweets you want to gather and analyze.


import sys
import csv
import tweepy
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

from collections import Counter
from aylienapiclient import textapi

if sys.version_info[0] < 3:
   input = raw_input

## Twitter credentials
consumer_key = "Your consumer key here"
consumer_secret = "your secret consumer key here"
access_token = "your access token here"
access_token_secret = "your secret access token here"

## AYLIEN credentials
application_id = "Your app ID here"
application_key = "Your app key here"

## set up an instance of Tweepy
auth = tweepy.OAuthHandler(consumer_key, consumer_secret)
auth.set_access_token(access_token, access_token_secret)
api = tweepy.API(auth)

## set up an instance of the AYLIEN Text API
client = textapi.Client(application_id, application_key)

## search Twitter for something that interests you
query = input("What subject do you want to analyze for this example? \n")
number = input("How many Tweets do you want to analyze? \n")

results = api.search(
   lang="en",
   q=query + " -rt",
   count=number,
   result_type="recent"
)

print("--- Gathered Tweets \n")

## open a csv file to store the Tweets and their sentiment 
file_name = 'Sentiment_Analysis_of_{}_Tweets_About_{}.csv'.format(number, query)

with open(file_name, 'w', newline='') as csvfile:
   csv_writer = csv.DictWriter(
       f=csvfile,
       fieldnames=["Tweet", "Sentiment"]
   )
   csv_writer.writeheader()

   print("--- Opened a CSV file to store the results of your sentiment analysis... \n")

## tidy up the Tweets and send each to the AYLIEN Text API
   for c, result in enumerate(results, start=1):
       tweet = result.text
       tidy_tweet = tweet.strip().encode('ascii', 'ignore')

       if len(tweet) == 0:
           print('Empty Tweet')
           continue

       response = client.Sentiment({'text': tidy_tweet})
       csv_writer.writerow({
           'Tweet': response['text'],
           'Sentiment': response['polarity']
       })

       print("Analyzed Tweet {}".format(c))

## count the data in the Sentiment column of the CSV file 
with open(file_name, 'r') as data:
   counter = Counter()
   for row in csv.DictReader(data):
       counter[row['Sentiment']] += 1

   positive = counter['positive']
   negative = counter['negative']
   neutral = counter['neutral']

## declare the variables for the pie chart, using the Counter variables for "sizes"
colors = ['green', 'red', 'grey']
sizes = [positive, negative, neutral]
labels = 'Positive', 'Negative', 'Neutral'

## use matplotlib to plot the chart
plt.pie(
   x=sizes,
   shadow=True,
   colors=colors,
   labels=labels,
   startangle=90
)

plt.title("Sentiment of {} Tweets about {}".format(number, query))
plt.show()

If you’re new to Python, text mining, or sentiment analysis, the next sections will walk through the main sections of the script.

 

The script in detail

Python 2 & 3

With the migration from Python 2 to Python 3, you can run into a ton of problems working with text data (if you’re interested, check out a great summary of why by Nick Coghlan). One of the changes is that Python 3 runs input() as a string, whereas Python 2 runs input() as a Python expression, so these lines change this to raw_input() if you’re running Python 2.


if sys.version_info[0] < 3:
   input = raw_input

Input your search

The goal of this post is to make it as quick and easy as possible to analyze the sentiment of Tweets that interest you. This script does that by letting you easily change the search term and sample size every time you run the script from the shell using the input() method.


query = input("What subject do you want to analyze for this example? \n")
number = input("How many Tweets do you want to analyze? \n")

Run your Twitter query

We’re grabbing the most recent Tweets relevant to your query, but you can change this to ‘popular’ if you want to mine only the most popular Tweets published, or ‘mixed’ for a bit of both. You can see we’ve also decided to exclude retweets, but you might decide that you want to include them. You can check the full list of parameters here. (From our experience there can be a lot of noise in retaining Tweets that have been Retweeted.)

An important point to note here is that the Twitter API limits your results to 100 Tweets, and it doesn’t return an error message if you try to search for more than 100 Tweets. So if you input 500 Tweets, you’ll only have 100 Tweets to analyze, and title of your visualization will still read ‘500 Tweets.’


results = api.search(
   lang="en",
   q=query + " -rt",
   count=number,
   result_type="recent"
)

Open a CSV file for the Tweets & Sentiment Analysis

Writing the Tweets and their sentiment to a CSV file allows you to review the API’s analysis of each Tweet. First, we open a new CSV file and write the headers.


with open(file_name, 'w', newline='') as csvfile:
   csv_writer = csv.DictWriter(
       f=csvfile,
       fieldnames=["Tweet", "Sentiment"]
   )
   csv_writer.writeheader()

Tidy the Tweets

Dealing with text on Twitter can be messy, so we’ve included this snippet to tidy up the Tweets before you do the sentiment analysis. This means that your results are more accurate, and you also don’t waste your free AYLIEN credits on empty Tweets. 😉


for c, result in enumerate(results, start=1):
   tweet = result.text
   tidy_tweet = tweet.strip().encode('ascii', 'ignore')

   if len(tweet) == 0:
       print('Empty Tweet')
       continue

Write the Tweets & their Sentiment to the CSV File

You can see that actually getting the sentiment of a piece of text only takes a couple of lines of code, and here we’re writing the Tweet itself and the result of the sentiment (positive, negative, or neutral) to the CSV file under the headers we already wrote. You’ll notice that we’re actually writing the Tweet as returned by the AYLIEN Text API instead of the Tweet we got from the Twitter API. Even though they’re both the same, writing the Tweet that the AYLIEN API returns just reduces the potential for errors and mistakes.  

We’re also going to print something every time the script analyzes a Tweet.


response = client.Sentiment({'text': tidy_tweet})
csv_writer.writerow({
   'Tweet': response['text'],
   'Sentiment': response['polarity']
})

print("Analyzed Tweet {}".format(c))

Screenshot (546)

If you want to include results on how confident the API is in the sentiment it detects in each Tweet: just add  “response[‘polarity_confidence’]” above and add a corresponding header when you’re opening your CSV file.

Count the results of the Sentiment Analysis

Now that we’ve got a CSV file with the Tweets we’ve gathered and their predicted sentiment, it’s time to visualize these results so we can get an idea of the sentiment immediately. To do this, we’re just going to use Python’s standard counter library to count the number of times each sentiment polarity appears in the ‘Sentiment’ column.


with open(file_name, 'r') as data:
   counter = Counter()
   for row in csv.DictReader(data):
       counter[row['Sentiment']] += 1

   positive = counter['positive']
   negative = counter['negative']
   neutral = counter['neutral']

Visualize the Sentiment of the Tweets

Finally, we’re going to plot the results of the count above on a simple pie chart with matplotlib. This is just a case of declaring the variables and then using matplotlib to base the sizes, labels, and colors of the chart on these variables.


colors = ['green', 'red', 'grey']
sizes = [positive, negative, neutral]
labels = 'Positive', 'Negative', 'Neutral'

## use matplotlib to plot the chart
plt.pie(
   x=sizes,
   shadow=True,
   colors=colors,
   labels=labels,
   startangle=90
)

plt.title("Sentiment of {} Tweets about {}".format(number, query))
plt.show()

Screenshot (542)

Go further with Sentiment Analysis

If you want to go further with sentiment analysis you can try two things with your AYLIEN API keys:

  • If you’re looking into reviews of restaurants, hotels, cars, or airlines, you can try our aspect-based sentiment analysis feature. This will tell you what sentiment is attached to each aspect of a Tweet – for example positive sentiment shown towards food but negative sentiment shown towards staff.
  • If you want sentiment analysis customized for the problem you’re trying to solve, take a look at TAP, which lets you train your own language model from your browser.

Building a Sentiment Analysis Workflow for your Organization

This script is built to give you a snapshot of sentiment at the time you run it, so to keep abreast of any change in sentiment towards an organization you’re interested in, you should try running this script every day.

In our next blog, we’ll have a couple of simple updates for this script that will set up a simple, fully automated process that will keep an eye on the sentiment on Twitter for your anything that you’re interested in.






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