Mining Social Media

Mining Social Media

Finding Stories in Internet Data
by Lam Thuy Vo
November 2019, 208 pp.
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Did fake Twitter accounts help sway a presidential election? What can Facebook and Reddit archives tell us about human behavior? In Mining Social Media, senior BuzzFeed reporter Lam Thuy Vo shows you how to use Python and key data analysis tools to find the stories buried in social media.

Whether you’re a professional journalist, an academic researcher, or a citizen investigator, you’ll learn how to use technical tools to collect and analyze data from social media sources to build compelling, data-driven stories.

Learn how to:

  • Write Python scripts and use APIs to gather data from the social web
  • Download data archives and dig through them for insights
  • Inspect HTML downloaded from websites for useful content
  • Format, aggregate, sort, and filter your collected data using Google Sheets
  • Create data visualizations to illustrate your discoveries
  • Perform advanced data analysis using Python, Jupyter Notebooks, and the pandas
  • Apply what you’ve learned to research topics on your own

Social media is filled with thousands of hidden stories just waiting to be told. Learn to use the data-sleuthing tools that professionals use to write your own data-driven stories.

Author Bio 

Lam Thuy Vo is a senior reporter at BuzzFeed News where she focuses on the intersection of technology, society, and social media data. She has reported for The Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera America, and NPR’s Planet Money, telling economic stories across the US and throughout Asia. Vo has also spent over a decade as an educator, training newsrooms and developing courses for the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.

Table of contents 


Part I: Data Mining

Chapter 1: The Programming Languages You’ll Need to Know
Chapter 2: Where to Get Your Data
Chapter 3: Getting Data with Code
Chapter 4: Scraping Your Own Facebook Data
Chapter 5: Scraping a Live Site

Part II: Data Analysis

Chapter 6: Introduction to Data Analysis
Chapter 7: Visualizing Your Data
Chapter 8: Advanced Tools for Data Analysis
Chapter 9: Finding Trends in Reddit Data
Chapter 10: Measuring the Twitter Activity of Political Actors
Chapter 11: Where to Go from Here 

View the detailed Table of Contents
View the Index


"If you want to know a little bit about Data Science while learning Python along the way, Mining Social Media is a must read . . . It's a fun and hands on approach to the topic, and I'd love to have read this when I was starting coding!"
—Gonçalo Palma, @GonPalma

"Excellently written, with complex topics made easy to understand, and has a welcoming style of prose."
—Ryan K. Louie, MD, PhD, @ryanlouie

"If you haven't read Lam's book, Mining Social Media, trust us — you're gonna dig it."
—Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, @newmarkjschool