Twitter TAGs is a Google Spreadsheet created by Martin Hawksey to automatically save copies of tweets to a Google Spreadsheet for a specific hashtag or search item.

By collecting this data, the spreadsheet offers a number of ways to view a summary of the activity, including a visualized “Conversation Explorer” — we are using it on Ontario Extend to collect all tweets that mention @ontarioextend or use the #oetend hashtag from the Daily Extend. You may have seen the complex visualization of the Ontario Extend community.

You can create your own Twitter TAGs collection. We recommend setting up a new TAGs spreadsheet every time you start a project where participants will communicate via a hashtag, but there are other ways you might consider using it to curate twitter activity.

First, learn more about Twitter TAGs.

One important note is that due to limitations of the Twitter API, the TAGs worksheet can only retrieve tweets from about the last 9 days, so it is important to create one of these early in your project.

Setting Up Your Own Twitter TAGs Worksheet

Martin’s site includes a detailed series of instructions for setting up your own Twitter TAGs worksheet. See also his illustrated and well-explained guide to setting up Twitter Tags (Google Doc).

You will need a Google Account to make your Twitter TAGS worksheet; it is stored as a Google Spreadsheet in your Google Drive.

In these steps you will need to create a “Twitter app” by logging in to with your twitter account. This is what provides the spreadsheet permission to query the twitter database.  The spreadsheet will tell you what you need to enter and retrieve from the app you create.

Once your spreadsheet is set up, I recommend looking under the TAGs menu for the option to Add Summary Sheet and Add Dashboard Sheet for two more ways to review your twitter activity.

If you want to share any of the sheets, use the Google Docs feature Publish to Web under the File menu so you can create a link for visitors to see any of the sheets– this is also necessary to activate the Conversation Explorer.

The link created as an example is for the published view of the Summary sheet for the Ontario Extend Twitter Tags worksheet.

Other views include direct links you can create via the Publish to the Web option in the spreadsheet.

You can use these as links on your course’s web site (or your own blog).

For the Ontario Extend Twitter TAGS we have entered a compound search in twitter:

#oextend OR @ontarioextend

entered into part 2 of the spreadsheet setup.

You can create logical search strings in the Twitter Advanced Search like we did

You might create an archive of your own tweets too. And there are many more complex searches that can work, e.g.

Consider other types of searches that might curate tweets of interest. If I wanted a Twitter TAGs archive of all my tweets that mention me and my dog’s name, I might do

felix AND @cogdog

See if you can create a Twitter TAGs worksheet for your own class hashtag — if you have never created one, first check that no one else is using it.

And remember as a bonus feature of the conversation explorer, you can create a URL that displays the activity of a single person in the mix. For Ontario Extend, our full visualization link is

If you append &name=TWITTERHANDLE to the end of the URL, like &name=greenterry we can see directly where Terry Greene’s activity is

Start with Twitter TAGs at

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  1.  Get Your Twitter TAGS on – CogDogBlog
  2.  At the End of My Summer of Ontario Extend – CogDogBlog

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