Or Function…disfunction?

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    I’m doing research on Transatlantic Trade and investment Partnership (TTIP), aka TransAtlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).

    Using TAGS I entered the term “#TTIP”.

    I cleaned the archive sheet, and then I entered the term “#TTIP OR #TAFTA”.

    I noticed a drastic drop in mentions with the latter database.

    Trying to figure out what is going on, I entered “#TAFTA” and lo and behold, the data matches up fairly well (some 30 minutes in between captures accounct for differences).

    Using “OR” doesn’t seem to work as it should. It does not pick up “#TTIP” or “#TAFTA”, It merely captures the latter term.

    What am I doing wrong? Is there a workaround?


    • This topic was modified 5 years, 2 months ago by Patience.


    This is a limitation of the Search API. Twitter says:

    Before getting involved, it’s important to know that the Search API is focused on relevance and not completeness. This means that some Tweets and users may be missing from search results

    There has been some research looking at the impact of this:

    We find that the search API over-represents the more central users and does not offer an accurate picture of peripheral activity; we also find that the bias is greater for the network of mentions – González-Bailón, Sandra, et al. “Assessing the bias in communication networks sampled from twitter.” Available at SSRN 2185134 (2012).

    I was able to replicate the issue you were having and I’m confident this is Twitter API limitation rather than the script used in this template. I would usally say it would be safer to avoid the operator and collect in separate sheets and merge the data at a later date, however, I discovered even this isn’t fullproof e.g. on the readme/settings sheets for these archives I’ve included a count of the hashtag occurrence in cells C19:C22 linked to a summarized below:

    As you know the data better anything you can spot in the last one?


    Hello to you,

    Thank you for the feedback (!)

    The only insight I can provide here is that TTIP is the usual term people I have seen used to refer to this trade deal. I learned of the term TAFTA only later.

    What I’ve found difficult with navigating social media, Twitter specifically, besides this search API issue, is tracking down the right target/hashtag for a given research.

    I’m very surprised in the discrepancy of the summarized results.

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