Post 6: Scraping the web for data

Recently, social media has become the most important part of Internet, it is also a primary channel where people can get information and share story and communication. Social media has gained astounding worldwide growth and popularity, there are lots of different types of social media, such as twitter, facebook or blogs. In order to better understand the issue of climate change, I investigate even further from social media platform, which is instagram.

There are no ads cluttering the screen. There’s no potpourri of features such as “checking in” to a place where you just arrived.

You take a photo, you post it and you see other people’s photos.

There’s something magical about that simplicity.

Instagram is a platform where people can use a simple way to share the world’s moment. Using the image and video to record daily life is instagram’s major feature. people can share news and interesting snippets with photos or short video, and people can follow anyone who you are interest on. Another very important function to me is I can search any keyword, user or location.

Instagram statistics, 2016

To date, Instagram has 30 million users, and over 400 million people actively use Instagram on a monthly basis. As the above statistical data shows that the most part of people using instagram is from age group 18 to 24. Actually this is the age group I need to focus on. As this result, I consider that instagram is a platform which can provide me more information and feedback on how this age group people think about climate change.

post6post62The picture above is the screenshots of search interface. As the screenshot shows that you can see what will be looks like after enter keywords, there are “Top”, ”People”, ”Tag” and “Place”.


In order to better understand how Instagram is useful to explore Climate Change, I found a relevant user account, which is NASA official account for Climate Change. The “nasa climate change” uploaded only 271 posts in past time, but the number of followers has reached over 45 thousands. Thus, I think this user account have significant influence. In this user account, I found lots of posted links, photos, information and other sources to help me raise awareness of climate change. Another user account named “every day climate change” attracted me to follower it. All nice photos from this user’s post are related to climate change. I like the photographers taking beautiful and meaningful photos and provoking our thoughts. According to followers’ comments, they all think photography is a good way to appeal people to pay more attention of climate change.

Through this finding, Instagram is a platform where people can comment on their opinion, share their personal experience or just like the photo. And also is platform where official organization or individual can post news and research.

twitter屏幕快照 2016-09-05 下午9.59.27

On the other hand, web scraper can be an easy way to organaise and anlayse data for a certain issue. Using data scraping to search any information about Climate Change is a good method that I never tried before. I searched and documented all data sets about Climate Change from twitter rule using the google sheets web scraper. I searched the word “climate change” written in English and all over the world. The results were 10,772 in 29th August. Just one day and one moment, the results were so immense. I also conducted on Data Pipeline and searched climate change anywhere around the world. After the research, I got lots of information highly related to the issue of climate change.


Overall, I summarized my finding in five points:

  • Instagram is a popular and useful social media in young age group.
  • People can search any keywords that can be related to location and user account.
  • Using photo and short video as a simple way to show personal opinion on climate change.
  • Web Scraper is quick and handy to use. The search results are abundant.
  • Web Scraper can also be seen how many people are concerned with this issue.
Reference List:

East, N. 2016, ‘Instagram for business’, viewed 03 September 2016, <>

Jesdanun, A. 2012, ‘Review: Warming up to photo-sharing app Instagram’, viewed 03 September 2016, <>

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