What is TAGSExplorer?

TAGSExplorer_thumbTAGSExplorer is a result of a couple of days code bashing in 2011. It mainly uses the DataTable part of the Google Visualization API to read data from a TAGS spreadsheet and format it to use with d3.js graphing library. By chucking some extra JavaScript/JQuery code (partly taken from johman’s Twitter Smash example) I’ve been able to reformat the raw Twitter data from the Google Spreadsheet and reformat it returning Twitter functionality like reply/retweet by using their Web Intents API.

What is displayed:

  • A node for each Twitterer who used the #studentexp hashtag and is stored in the spreadsheet archive.
  • Solid lines between nodes are conversations eg @ernestopriego tweeted @easegill I agree completely. Learning how to use social media tools is part of digital literacy and fluency; part of education. #studentexp  creating a connection between @ernestopriego and @easegill.
  • Dotted lines are not direct replies but mentions eg @theREALwikiman tweeted “If you’re an academic librarian it might be worth following @GdnHigherEd‘s #studentexp tag right now, if you have time. Interesting stuff.” For performance by default these are turned off but enabled by following the instructions below.
  • Node text size based on he number of @replies and @mentions

How to make your own?

  1. If you haven’t already you need to capture some tweets into a TAGS spreadsheet
  2. When you have some data from the spreadsheet File > Publish to the web …
  3. On the TAGS Readme/Settings sheet there is a direct link to the TAGSExplorer view.


  1. Head over to TAGSExplorer and enter you spreadsheet key (or just paste the entire spreadsheet url HT to Tony Hirst for this code)
  2. Click ‘get sheet names’ and select the sheet of the data you want to use (if you are doing a continuous collection the default is archive)
  3. Click ‘go’
  4. If you want to share with others, click the ‘link for this’ at the top right which gives you a permanent url – the permanent link also hides the spreadsheet selection interface. By default mention lines are off but can be enabled by adding &mentions=true to the link (see example above)

Some examples

If you don’t have your own data yet here’s some examples from data I’ve already collected: