How to use Twitter for information mining

Thursday, 22 January 2009, 10:58 AM EST

Twitter is fun. It's also a powerful research tool. People increasingly use Twitter to share advice, opinions, news, moods, concerns, facts, rumors, and everything else imaginable. Much of that data is public and available for mining.

Here's how to use Twitter to gather useful information about topics, companies, and individuals. I'll cover native Twitter features, as well as third-party tools with catchy names, such as 5and2fish, Twitter Venn, TwitterFriends, PeopleBrowsr , Twitturly, Twitter Spectrum, and others.

Most of the techniques mentioned here don't require you to be a registered Twitter user. If you use Twitter, consider what data tidbits you release there, and whether you need to be more careful.

At SANS

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