Twitter’s big data play – social network to grant datasets to researchers

6 Feb 2014

With more than 500m tweets a day Twitter is a treasure trove of data and now it is opening that data up to research institutions to glean valuable insights via its new Data Grants service.

From the data Twitter can already glean insights on a variety of topics from health-related information such as when and where the flu may hit to global events like ringing in the New Year.

And now via its Twitter Data Grants programme it will pilot sharing specific datasets with research bodies.

“To date, it has been challenging for researchers outside the company who are tackling big questions to collaborate with us to access our public, historical data,” explained Twitter’s Raffi Krikorianex.

“Our Data Grants program aims to change that by connecting research institutions and academics with the data they need.”

You want the data? Can you handle the data?

To participate research institutions are asked to submit a proposal by 15 March.

For the initial pilot of the programme Twitter will select a small number of proposals to receive free datasets.

Twitter will provide the data via Gnip, one its certified data reseller partners.

“They are working with us to give selected institutions free and easy access to Twitter datasets. In addition to the data, we will also be offering opportunities for the selected institutions to collaborate with Twitter engineers and researchers.

To get updates and stay in touch with the program: visit, follow @TwitterEng, or email

Social data image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years