Post 6 – A Twitter Data Scrapping

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Twitter, the social networking platform that allows billions of users to send and receive ‘tweets’ from all over the world in short 140 character posts. Since the launch of Twitter in 2006, the service have been used in several notable environments such as education, campaigns, fundraising, businesses, art, entertainment, interviews and even emergencies.

In recent years, Twitter has been used as a platform of “breaking news”, which often embodies Twitter users’ reactions and perspectives to the most current events, as a result beating traditional news outlets to a story on numerous occasions. As social networks go, the learning curve of Twitter is steeper than most – many have checked it out, but unable to grasp the concept of @this and RT-that, succumbing to wander off elsewhere. For those that stayed, the appeal of Twitter is similar to the elephant examined by blind men, offering different experiences to different people. It is a place where users simultaneously bookmark links of interest, follow of the daily lives of friends and strangers, converse and share images and articles with people without caring or knowing who they are, and leave the scene at the their own leisure. The use of Hashtags allows most of the trends listed on Twitter to be assigned into a particular subject to a tweet, and these tweets can suit your personal preference, switching from ‘Worldwide’ to those emerging from a certain country.

If we *really* cared about our users we would try to help them spend *less* time “engaging” with our site.

— Seriouspony (@seriouspony)

Techcrunch, 2014

The process for my data scraping on Twitter utilizes the advanced search functionality as a Google add-on followed by accessing the Twitter website to enable further searches.

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Twitter Advanced Search

The topic of interest concerning obesity is the body positive movement surfacing around social media. The search led to over 150 pages of data with over 7,000 results. It was difficult to analyse the data accurately at this point due to the influx of results, however I was able to pix up a mix reviews of the advocacy of body positive movement as well as articles on news and celebrity reports.

Using similar search terms (“plus size” plus OR size, OR body OR plus, OR movement, OR obese, OR fat), I ran a advanced search through the Twitter website. The finding was more visually engaging and rather insightful towards this topic. My first observation was that a majority of these posts are written by either feminists or plus size women who seems to embrace their overweight struggles. I’ve also found that several personal posts were published in order to seek a quick 5 minutes of fame and desperate plea for attention.

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Cho, 2016

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The movement became so popular that it spread to the Asian region that traditionally embraces the slim culture.

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It was interesting to see the take on this body positive movement from a male point of view. @rllyhannah mercilessly pointed out that the plus size mannequins look like average females, which to me suggests two things. First being that a body shaped like the mannequin is merely average – common amongst our society that portrays nothing spectacular. Secondly is that this plus size movement should not be put on a pedestal, as they are not worthy of being admired for.

I went through the last 40 posts and proceeded to break down the type of posts being generated by the users on Twitter.

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Cho, 2016

It was interesting to see that there were a lot of personal opinions regarding the plus body movement and this was quite insightful to see the debate towards this controversy.

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There were so many interesting responses from all angles that I decided to break down the positive and negative responses within consecutive 30 posts. Positive response refers to people who are promoting or advocating the issue, and negative response refers to people who are against the movement.

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Cho, 2016

An insight that I have generated was that all the positive responses are published from women and most of them are overweight. This was not surprising to me as the movement was revolutionized by feminists who seeks to advocate their beauty standards in the own accord. People who have a normal body types does not feel the need to embrace that standard. Most of the negative response were witty and at times insightful. There were numerous remarks that suggests the double standard of the body positive movement, such as the use of Photoshop to remove cellulite off a model, wearing an outfit that covers a huge proportion of the body or contouring their faces to make them appear thinner. In contrast, there were a few people that did not understand how the body positive movement is promoting an unhealthy lifestyle, which to me is quite cringe-worthy.

My 5 key insights

  • People are unaware of the health risks associated with the body positive movement.
  • Most people who advocates for the body positive movement are women/feminists that are overweight.
  • More often or not, people tend to express their opinion on Twitter towards the movement whether it is positive or negative.
  •  The idea behind the plus size movement trend can be seen as fake and have a double standards connotation. It can also been seen as a plea of attention by putting themselves on the pedestal.
  •  The movement is increasing in popularity as it has the influence to impact others who lack their own knowledge of the health risks associated with being overweight.

With that in mind, it would be fascinating to develop a visual mapping that have the following design:

  • The parts of the world/culture that are presenting this movement.
  • The demographics that is advocating for the movement including age and sex
  • The type of response generated from the movement, positive or negative.
  • Whether they are at a healthy BMI, or considered overweight or obese.
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Cho, 2016

References

“Body Positive Movement – Twitter Search”. Twitter.com. N.p., 2016. accessed 5 Sep. 2016.

Cartography. imgur.com/fmPbg.jpg. N.p.,2016. accessed 5 Sep. 2016.

Evans, J. (2013) The genius of Twitter: A paean. Available at: https://techcrunch.com/2013/09/28/the-genius-of-twitter-a-paean/ Accessed 5 September 2016.

Gaul. C, 2016, ‘Twitter Bots’, Lecture, accessed 5 Sep. 2016, <https://online.uts.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-1384637-dt-content-rid-8098732_1/courses/87831/Week4Lecture_ChrisGaul_TwitterBots.pdf&gt;