Mike Isaac

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Here Come the Tweets: Gnip Offers Access to Full Twitter Archive (For a Price)

Twitter is largely credited with the rise of the “interest graph,” the name for the network of various and sundry things we as humans like to do, and the ways in which those interests connect us to one another. Each tweet brings more insight as to what we’re thinking and what we care about in real time, with hundreds of millions of those signals flowing through Twitter’s pipes each day.

It’s a rich trove of data that can prove extremely valuable to marketers and research firms, though only a handful of companies pay for access to the “firehose,” Twitter’s stream of real-time tweet data. And not all of those companies have full access, meaning the data may be less meaningful than, say, if you had access to every tweet ever tweeted since Twitter’s inception six years ago.

That’s Gnip’s pitch, at least. Gnip, a social data API aggregation company that sells vast amounts of social data to third-party analysts and marketers through its single API, announced on Wednesday that it will now offer the entirety of all archived tweets available for outside analysis. Provided, of course, that you pay to use Gnip’s new “historical powertrack” product.

Gnip has offered a similar service in the past. The company’s original offering touted filtered search results for firms, including a 30-day “backtrack,” which allowed for viewing complete Twitter data information over the past month. That’s useful for, say, a company who has just launched a media campaign and wants to see the effect of its impact on the Web — or at the very least, how that buzz has translated into chatter among the Twitter-literate.

Gnip was the first to do this; competitor DataSift followed suit shortly thereafter, offering more history than Gnip — up to two years of previous tweets.

The appeal of Gnip’s new service, then, is to contextualize a given search term throughout the entirety of Twitter’s history, perhaps seeing the impact (or lack thereof) that different marketing campaigns have had on generating social media buzz.

All of that said, whether lots of Twitter buzz translates to actual sales or market movement is still a point of contention between marketers and analysts — especially in the still-nascent days of brands and Big Media figuring out how to most effectively use platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare to reach consumers.

At the very least, Gnip’s new offering means you won’t have to resort to thumbing the Dewey Decimal cards of the Library of Congress the next time you’re trying to gain access to one of your long-since-tweeted messages. Just be prepared to cough up some green.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work