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What’s got us tweeting?

Thursday 30 November 2017

You can now track the topics that get people tweeting with an innovative new online archive – the first of its kind in Australia – launched today [Thursday 30 November] by the State Library of NSW.

The State Library has teamed up with CSIRO’s Data61 to develop Social Media Archive – a living record that captures the mood of the State and the key issues and topics people have been posting about.

“As part of the State Library’s mission to document life in NSW, we’ve been using the Data61’s social media tool Vizie since 2012 to collect publicly available posts covering State politics, business, media, sport and the arts,” said State Librarian Dr John Vallance.

“We’re thrilled to be able to provide online public access to this amazing archive of social commentary on the things that move, unite and divide us as a State,” said Dr Vallance.

The archive includes over 50 million posts – across a range of platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube – documenting key moments and events in our more recent history, from the Sydney Siege and 2015 State Election to the Marriage Equality survey and Socceroos World Cup qualifier.

Dr Stephen Wan, Research Scientist at CSIRO’s Data61, said that Vizie is an analytics tool that turns social media text data into societal insights.

“Social media is a rich source of unstructured text data that can provide truly remarkable insights into the moments that make up our collective history. The algorithms we’ve developed through Vizie translate this data into a snapshot of life, as expressed on social media, that future generations can look back on,” he said.

The Social Media Archive can be searched by keyword or hashtag to see what’s being said and what discussions are trending at any given time.

While you can’t see individual posts, the Archive does give insights into how people are feeling about conversations with an ‘Emotional Clock’. For instance, ‘sadness’ and ‘fear’ registered high prior to the Marriage Equality survey announcement on 15 November, with ‘joy’ being the overwhelming emotion expressed throughout the whole day.

“Just like newspapers and other historic documents, the Archive promises to be an important resource for future generations,” said Dr Vallance.

To search the State Library of NSW Social Media Archive visit:
socialmediaarchive.sl.nsw.gov.au

Download full media release (PDF 158 KB)