Setting up Thinkup/Tweetnest on EC2 Ubuntu machine

Lately I’ve been testing a couple of twitter monitoring products, as you all know twitter has a 3000 tweets thresholds afterwords it archives your tweets, in other words you only have access to your last 3000 tweets, which means that if you you are serious twitterer and you want to know what you tweeted about this time last year you’d completely fail, also twitter try to maintain the medium status, thus they avoid providing users with any analysis, several tools are out there that do so but again they’d be limited to your last 3000 accessible tweets. If you wanted to go further back or have a deeper look at someone’s tweets u need to cash your tweets somehow. This entry is on how to do that.

I tested around with two alternatives Thinkup and tweetnest, preferring to customize rather than develop, and so I fired up my Ubuntu LAMP EC2 microinstance and started customizing it.

I downloaded it, followed the steps provided on their site, it took around 5 minutes for the service to be up and running, running two scripts the database was populated with my available 3000 tweets, and instantly i had tables filled with all sorts of information that i can manipulate such as a table filled with every single word i used and the frequency of usage per tweet per word. in other words, i had exactly what i needed, However the interface was limited to displaying my tweets broken down by month, and with the ability to break them down further by day.

Trying to drill down I faced the first stumble, obviously my apache server overlooked the .htaccess available in the tweetnest folder, thus overlooking the re-mapping rules, as as solution i modified 000-default file to reflect the fact I needed to use the .htaccess file.

Can handle multiple twitter accounts.
You can follow accounts you don’t own.
Easy to use/install.
Easy to configure.
Simple ERD.

Interface limited to displaying tweets rather than analyzing them.
Can’t follow more than a single account per installation.


Thinkup was a bit more complicated to install, they had detailed instructions on the website, which included downloading the application setting permissions firing it up and it should take care of the rest, however it didn’t, for some reason it refused to activate. As you (TU admin) log in for the first time, it should send you an activation mail with a link that you click to activate your account, this elaborate activation scheme failed because for some reason either PHP mail() function wasn’t working on my machine or my gmail account filtered out the email that originated from an EC2 IP, the solution was updating the the tu_owners table and setting is_activated to 1 for my user, that done i was able to access thinkup, the next step was activating the plugins.

Unlike Tweetnest, ThinkUp application must be authorized by twitter and registered there to enable the OAuth features, so I registered it. To enable geotagging i had to secure a google maps API key, which i did, once the twitter plugin was activated i had to log into the twitter account i want followed and authorize this application to access it, which i did, tweetnest started collecting the data, and instantly i had access to my tweets along with analysis. I then enabled the registration features on my machine, which means other users can register on my ThinkUp server and people, ThinkUp’s edge is mainly its interface and the way it analyzes your tweets, placing all of this analysis in a simple accessible dashboard which can be set to be private or public.

I enabled the registration feature on ThinkUp which means that now people can register and have my ThinkUp instance follow/analyze their tweets, Solving PHP Mail() problem was as simple as downloading and installing mail package onto my machine, once I did that, people were able to get the account activation emails.

I believe that the best thing about ThinkUp though is the fact that it has an active development community, I had this inquiry which i posted to their twitter account and to my surprise I received a response within 15 minutes.

A dashboard that displays analysis of your tweets, much better than anything else on the market.
Ability for other users to register and have your server follow their accounts.
A much cleaner more detailed interface than most apps out there.
Can follow Facebook.
Active development community available on facebook and twitter

A much more completed DB schema/code.
You can only follow twitter accounts you own.
Not as easy to customize as Tweetnest.

In conclusion I ended up having to use both, even though I believe ThinkUp is much more versatile and powerful however it doesn’t cover my need to follow and analyze accounts that i dont own, as a result i have both tweetnest as well as ThinkUp hosted on my webserver.

feel free to check them both.

also feel free to check out the cacti instance i have monitoring several interesting hashtags


One thought on “Setting up Thinkup/Tweetnest on EC2 Ubuntu machine

  1. Thanks of this useful summary.

    Note for your readers: ThinkUp came out of beta, and release the v1.0 app on November 15, 2011. The ThinkUp system requirements are here: — It’s PHP 5.2 or higher with cURL, GD, and the PDO MySQL driver enabled; MySQL 5.0.3 or higher. In my case, I have everything except the PDO for mysql running. I have been using TweetNest, and may try ThinkUp in the future, though I’d prefer they support sqlite.

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