FireAnt: Filter, Identify, Report, and Export Analysis Tool

Some of the best news of this year: on Monday 22nd February 2016, FireAnt was launched! What is this little ant of fire? It’s an easy-to-use freeware a freeware “[F]ilter, [I]dentify, [R]eport & [E]xport [An]alysis [T]oolkit” for processing small, large, and very large tabular and hierarchical data sets, such as those generated by the Twitter API for use in corpus, time series, geographical map, and network graph analyses.

In different words, it’s a tool to help corpus linguists and social scientists analyze Twitter and other social network data without the need for programming or database management skills. FireAnt was created as part of my ESRC-funded DOOM project and does all kinds of amazing things. It can:

  • collect Twitter data live
  • import different data formats of data
    • e.g. Twitter data in JSON format, Reddit data in CSV format, etc.
  • search that data and its associated metadata in a variety of ways
    • e.g., retrieve all tweets containing #blacklivesmatter sent in December 2015)
  • export the results to other formats including a plain text file for “standard” corpus analysis, an Excel/CSV file for statistical analysis, a timeline chart, geographical mapping, and a network graph

The initial launch was attended by a shortlist of hand-picked people who gave us some excellent feedback which we spent the following week working on. Want a copy of FireAnt? The latest version is available online here and a Mac version is on its way soon.

We’re already thinking about new additions to FireAnt and feedback is invaluable for making it as useful and functional as possible. For discussion and future news about FireAnt, you may want to join the new FireAnt Google Group discussion group.

Receiving the Queen’s Anniversary Prize

The crowning jewel (if you’ll pardon the pun) in an unusually busy and successful year had to be CASS being awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize. I’m one of the CIs on the CASS team and my contribution to winning the award was the work I did with Twitter on trolling and bullying. (Many others did amazing work on a variety of subjects from the OED to learner English – you can read about them here and on the CASS blog.) The Queen’s Anniversary Prize is part of the Royal Honours System, but rather than conferring, say, an OBE on a single person, it confers the prize on the whole institution in why the team is located. Continue reading