Gnip Client Libraries from Our Customers

Our customers rock. When they develop code to start using Gnip, they often share their libraries with us so that they might be useful to future Gnip customers as well. Although Gnip doesn’t currently officially support any client libraries for access to our social media API, we do like to highlight and bring attention to some of our customers who choose to share their work.

In particular, here are a few Gnip client libraries that happy customers have developed and shared with us. We’ll be posting them in our Power Track documentation and you can also find them linked here:

Java
by Zauber
https://github.com/zaubersoftware/gnip4j

Python
by General Sentiment
https://github.com/vkris/gnip-python/blob/master/streamingClient.py

If you’ve developed a library for access to Gnip data and you’d like to share it with us at Gnip and other Gnip customers, then drop us a note at info@gnip.com. We’d love to hear from you.

Letter From The New Guy

Not too long ago Gnip celebrated its third birthday.  I am celebrating my one week anniversary with the company today.  To say a lot happened before my time at Gnip would be the ultimate understatement, and yet it is easy for me to see the results produced from those three years of effort.  Some of those results include:

The Product

Gnip’s social media API offering is the clear leader in the industry.  Gnip is delivering over a half a billion social media activities daily from dozens of sources.  That certainly sounds impressive, but how can I be so confident Gnip is the leader?  Because the most important social media monitoring companies rely on our services to deliver results to their customers every single day. For example, Gnip currently works with 8 of the top 9 enterprise social media monitoring companies, and the rate we are adding enterprise focused companies is accelerating.

The Partners

Another obvious result is the strong partnerships that have been cultivated.  Some of our partnerships such as Twitter and Klout were well publicized when the agreements were put in place.  However, having strong strategic partners takes a lot more than just a signed agreement.  It takes a lot of dedication, investment, and hard work by both parties in order to deliver on the full promise of the agreement.  It is obvious to me that Gnip has amazing partnerships that run deep and are built upon a foundation of mutual trust and respect.

The People

The talent level at Gnip is mind blowing, but it isn’t the skills of the people that have stood out the most for me so far.  It is the dedication of each individual to doing the right thing for our customers and our partners that has made the biggest impression.  When it comes to gathering and delivering social media data, there are a lot of shortcuts that can be taken in order to save time, money, and effort.  Unfortunately, these shortcuts can often come at the expense of publishers, customers, or both.  The team at Gnip has no interest in shortcuts and that comes across in every individual discussion and in every meeting.  If I were going to describe this value in one word, the word would be “integrity”.

In my new role as President & COO, I’m responsible for helping the company grow quickly and smoothly while maintaining the great values that have been established from the company’s inception.  The growth has already started and I couldn’t be more pleased with the talent of the people who have recently joined the organization including: Bill Adkins, Seth McGuire, Charles Ince, and Brad Bokal who have all joined Gnip within the last week.  And, we are hiring more! In fact, it is worth highlighting one particular open position for a Customer Support Engineer.  I’m hard pressed to think of a higher impact role at our company because we consider supporting our customers to be such an important priority.  If you have 2+ years of coding experience including working with RESTful Web APIs and you love delivering over-the-top customer service, Gnip offers a rare opportunity to work in an environment where your skills will be truly appreciated.  Apply today!

I look forward to helping Gnip grow on top of a strong foundation of product, partners, and people.  If you have any questions, I can be reached at chris [at] gnip.com.

New Gnip & Twitter Partnership

We at Gnip have been waiting a long time to write the following sentence: Gnip and Twitter have partnered to make Twitter data commercially available through Gnip’s Social Media API. I remember consuming the full firehose back in 2008 over XMPP. Twitter was breaking ground in realtime social streams at a then mind-blowing ~6 (six) Tweets per second. Today we see many more Tweets and a greater need for commercial access to higher volumes of Twitter data.

There’s enormous corporate demand for better monitoring and analytics tools, which help companies listen to their customers on Twitter and understand conversations about their brands and products. Twitter has partnered with Gnip to sublicense access to public Tweets, which is great news for developers interested in analyzing large amounts of this data. This partnership opens the door to developers who want to use Twitter streams to create monitoring and analytics tools for the non-display market.

Today, Gnip is announcing three new Twitter feeds with more on the way:

  • Twitter Halfhose. This volume-based feed is comprised of 50% of the full firehose.
  • Twitter Mentionhose. This coverage-based feed provides the realtime stream of all Tweets that mention a user, including @replies and retweets. We expect this to be very interesting to businesses studying the conversational graph on Twitter to determine influencers, engagement, and trending content.
  • Twitter Decahose. This volume-based product is comprised of 10% of the full firehose. Starting today, developers who want to access this sample rate will access it via Gnip instead of Twitter. Twitter will also begin to transition non-display developers with existing Twitter Gardenhose access over to Gnip.

We are excited about how this partnership will make realtime social media analysis more accessible, reliable, and sustainable for businesses everywhere.

To learn more about these premium Twitter products, visit http://gnip.com/twitter, send us an email at info@gnip.com, or appropriately, find us on Twitter @gnip.

What Facebook Data is Available from Gnip's Social Media API?

Facebook is among the most in-demand (but also among the most challenging) social media sources to access. Most Facebook conversation data is private and so it’s not accessible via Facebook’s API or any of Gnip’s feeds. Facebook data availability is also pretty confusing to understand and the rules keep changing. So, let’s clarify what kinds of Facebook information we can offer through our social media API today. 

What Facebook Data is Available from Gnip?
Within the realm of publicly accessible data only, we provide:

  • User page content: status updates, wall posts, comments
  • Fan page content: wall posts, comments (probably more than you’ll find from any service), “Like” count, historical data up to 90 days


How Can You Get the Data?

Instead of a firehose of Facebook data, you enter parameters indicating what you want to find:

  • Keyword search
    You provide a list of keywords. We’ll return public mentions of those keywords.
  • Username search
    You provide a list of usernames. We’ll return publicly accessible posts generated by those users.
  • Fan page search
    You provide a list of fan pages. We’ll return publicly available posts and comments on those fan pages.

    While these lists are vastly simplified, we hope they’ll clarify what kinds of Facebook data most businesses can access legally, and exactly what Facebook data Gnip provides.

    Oh, and one last thing. We’re sometimes asked how we feel about Facebook’s privacy policies. At Gnip, we don’t make the rules — we just play by them. Our job is to facilitate access to the social data that publishers (like Facebook) officially make accessible to our customers.

    Best wishes to you with your Facebook data collection! If you think we might be able to help, please drop us a note.

    Official Google Buzz Firehose Added to Gnip’s Social Media API

    Today we’re excited to announce the integration of the Google Buzz firehose into Gnip’s social media data offering. Google Buzz data has been available via Gnip for some time, but today Gnip became one of the first official providers of the Google Buzz firehose.

    The Google Buzz firehose is a stream of all public Buzz posts (excluding Twitter tweets) from all Google Buzz users. If you’re interested in the Google Buzz firehose, here are some things to know:

    • Google delivers it via Pubsubhubbub. If you don’t want to consume it via Pubsubhubbub, Gnip makes it available in any of our supported delivery methods: Polling (HTTP GET), Streaming HTTP (Comet), or Outbound HTTP Post (Webhooks).
    • The format of the Firehose is XML Activity Streams. Gnip loves Activity Streams and we’re excited to see Google continue to push this standard forward.
    • Google Buzz activities are Geo-enabled. If the end user attaches a geolocation on a Buzz post (either from a mobile Google Buzz client or through an import from another geo-enabled service), that location will be included in the Buzz activity.

    We’re excited to bring the Google Buzz firehose to the Social Media Monitoring and Business Intelligence community through the power of the Gnip platform.

    Here’s how to access the Google Buzz firehose. If you’re already a Gnip customer, just log in to your Gnip account and with 3 clicks you can have the Buzz firehose flowing into your system. If you’re not yet using Gnip and you’d like to try out the Buzz firehose to get a sense of volume, latency, and other key metrics, grab a free 3 day trial at http://try.gnip.com and check it out along with the 100 or so other feeds available through Gnip’s social media API.

    How to Select a Social Media Data Provider

    If you’re looking for social media data, you’ve got a lot of options: social media monitoring companies provide end-user brand tracking tools, some businesses provide deep-dive analyses of social data, other companies provide a reputation scores for individual users, and still other services specialize in geographic social media display, to name just a few. 

    Some organizations ultimately decide to build internal tools for social media data analysis. Then they must decide between outsourcing the social data collection bit so they can focus their efforts on analyzing and visualizing the data, or building everything — including API connections to each individual publisher — internally. Establishing and maintaining those API connections over time can be costly. If your team has the money and resources to build your own social media integrations, then go for it!

    But if you’re shopping for raw social media data, you should consider a social media API – that is, a single API that aggregates raw data from dozens of different social media publishers – instead of making connections to each one of those dozens of social media APIs individually. And in the social media API market, there is only a small handful of companies for you to choose from. We are one of them and we would love to work with you. But we know that you’ll probably want to shop your options before making a decision, so we’d like to offer our advice to help you understand some of the most important factors in selecting a social media API provider.

    Here are some good questions for you to ask every social media API solution you consider (including your own internal engineers, if you’re considering hiring them for the job):

    Are your data collection methods in compliance with all social media publishers’ terms of use?

    –> Here’s why it matters: by working with a company that violates any publisher’s terms of use, you risk unstable (or sudden loss of) access to violated publisher’s data — not to mention the potential legal consequences of using black market data in your product. Conversely, if you work with a company that has a strong relationship with the social media publishers, our experience shows that you not only get stable, reliable data access, but you just might get rewarded with *extra* data access every now and then. (In case you’re wondering, Gnip’s methods are in compliance with each of our social media publishers’ terms of use.)

    Do you provide results and allow parameter modifications via API, and do you maintain those API connections over time?

    –> In our experience, establishing a single API connection to collect data from a single publisher isn’t hard. But! Establishing many API connections to various social media publishers and – this is key – maintaining those connections over time is really quite a chore. So much so, we made a whole long list of API-related difficulties associated with that integration work, based on our own experiences. Make sure that whoever you work with understands the ongoing work involved and is prepared to maintain your access to all of the social media APIs you care about over time.

    How many data sources do you provide access to?

    –> Even if you only want access to Twitter and Facebook today, it’s a good idea to think ahead. How much incremental work will be involved for you to integrate additional sources a few months down the line? Our own answer to this question is this: using Gnip’s social media API, once you’re set up to receive your first feed from Gnip via API, it takes about 1 minute for you to configure Gnip to send you data from a 2nd feed. Ten minutes later, you’re collecting data from 10 different feeds, all at no extra charge. Since you can configure Gnip to send all of your data in one format, you only need to create one parser and all the data you want gets streamed into your product. You can even start getting data from a new social media source, decide it’s not useful for your product, and replace it with a different feed from a different source, all in a matter of seconds. We’re pretty proud that we’ve made it so fast and simple for you to receive data from new sources… (blush)… and we hope you’ll find it to be useful, too.

    What format is your data delivered in?

    –> Ten different social media sources might provide data in 10 different formats. And that means you have to write 10 different parsers to get all the data into your product. Gnip allows you to normalize all the social media data you want into one single format — Activity Streams — so you can collect all your results via one API and feed them into your product with just one parser.

    Hope this helps! If you’ve got additional questions to suggest for our list, don’t hesitate to drop us a note. We’d love to hear from you.