Post 6 | Scraping the web for data

by Tiffany Wong


Using the Twitter Archiver, I conducted a web scraping with the aim of better understanding the thoughts, experiences and perspectives of people in a global context (as I was unable to narrow it down to Australia) on the topic of obesity and body shaming by filtering my search with ‘body shaming’, ‘obesity’ and ‘fat’.

Twitter Archiver – Body Shaming

The results showed up to 3000+ tweets posted by various twitter accounts, ranging from fitness companies, celebrities, professions, advocates of anti-fat shaming and bullying, and the general public. I found this tool quite confusing to navigate around and not very useful at this stage of research. However, I am aware that maybe it was because I wasn’t as familiar with the functions as others might have been.

Following this, I turned to Twitter advanced search to continue the web scraping where I was a little more successful in finding data that could be of use for future tasks. Similar to the Twitter Archiver results, there were many tweets including links on how to become healthier, people standing up against fat shaming, fat shaming tweets, but there were very few tweets that shared personal stories of being fat-shamed and the effect it may have had on them.

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Overall, I found this web-scraping task not very effective as I was unable to find the data and results I was hoping for. Maybe people feel vulnerable or scared to share their stories so openly, in fear that people may continue mistreat or criticise them. I am curious to dig a little deeper and possibly look into other social media platforms for personal stories and experiences from victims of body/fat shaming to form data visualisation.

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