Introducing Fireant: A Freeware, Multiplatform Social Media Data-Analysis Tool

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    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper introduces a new social media data-analysis tool called FireAnt that allows technical and professional communication researchers, instructors, and students to easily collect, analyze, and visualize social media communication. Problem: Currently, most social media analysis is carried out using custom computer scripts written in programming languages such as Python and R. Although these custom scripts can be very powerful, they create an enormous barrier to those without a strong computational background or the resources to hire a software engineer or data scientist. Key concepts: FireAnt is a freeware, stand-alone, multiplatform social media data-analysis tool designed for both novice and expert computer users. It can be used to collect, analyze, and subsequently visualize social media data as time-series plots, geopositional maps, and network graphs. It can also export results for further processing using traditional corpus tools, statistical packages, and custom scripts. Key lessons: This paper will show how FireAnt can be used to collect social media data related to specific companies, analyze those data, and visualize the data in a variety of ways. Implications for practice: FireAnt has applications in various technical and professional communication settings—for example, as part of a strategy to develop a social media presence and in the analysis of company-customer interactions and user perceptions of goods and services. It can also be used in the technical writing classroom as part of instructor- and student-centered instruction on the safe, appropriate, and effective use of language on social media platforms.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
    DOIs
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018 Jan 1

    Keywords

    • Data analysis
    • Data visualization
    • data visualization
    • FireAnt
    • Python
    • social media
    • technical writing
    • Tools
    • Twitter

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Industrial relations
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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