I played with Twitter Firehose for couple of hours and how you can do so too:

First up: what’s a Twitter Fire-hose?

It’s a real-time stream of tweets! I had pointed out in an earlier post that Twitter gets 340 million tweets per day!

twiiter fire hose 340 millions tweets per dayImage courtesy

Why did I want access to Fire-hose?

Curiosity.

I had heard – It’s expensive, Is it?

For an Individual: Absolutely! For companies: Not if they know how to create business value out of it.

Note the words “couple of hours” in the title. I’ll Explain that part later.

How did you get access?

via DataSift. They had a free trial w/ 10$ credit and I tried that. Check them out if want to play with Twitter Firehose. It’s fun!

What did I do with it?

I collected 15,000 tweets over a period of 2 hours containing words “Google” OR “Microsoft“.

Total cost for me: 3-4$

Note: I added the cost just so that you get a general Idea. Look at the pricing page of DataSift for more details.

Are their other Twitter Data  Resellers?

Yes. As of now, it’s DataSift, GNIP and Topsy. search for “Twitter Certified Data Reseller Products” to find the list. I was able to find a Free Trial by DataSift and that’s why I tried DataSift.

If I just want to play with Twitter Data, what are the alternatives?

you can work with their streaming API which gives 1% of tweets. you can find an example here: Grab Twitter search data using R and export to a tab delimited file

Conclusion:

In this post, I discussed about how you can try Twitter Firehose. Also pointed you to an alternative of using streaming API which gives 1% of tweets. I hope that helps.