How to collect Tweets in a JSON file on Twitter using Python?

I'm building a program that collects a specified number of tweets(no specific hashtags, just random posts) from a specific country (based on co-ordinates) over the span of 1-2 months.

For example, I'm collecting 200 tweets/status updates from the United States which were posted anywhere between September and October.

The reason I'm doing this is because I want to gather these tweets and perform sentiment analysis on the to see whether or not the average tweet from a specified country is negative/positive.

The problem I'm having is that I don't know how to "filter" for random tweets/status updates because these kind of tweets don't have hashtags. Furthermore, I'm not sure if Twitter allows me to collect tweets which are 2 months old. Any suggestions?


 import tweepy
from tweepy import OAuthHandler
import json
import datetime as dt
import time
import os
import sys

I created a twitter account for anyone to use if they want to test the code!
I used Python 3 and tweepy version 3.5.0.

def load_api():
    ''' Function that loads the twitter API after authorizing the user. '''

    consumer_key = 'nn'
    consumer_secret = 'nn'
    access_token = 'nn'
    access_secret = 'nnn'
    auth = OAuthHandler(consumer_key, consumer_secret)
    auth.set_access_token(access_token, access_secret)

    api = tweepy.API(auth, wait_on_rate_limit=True)

    # load the twitter API via tweepy
    return tweepy.API(auth)

def tweet_search(api, query, max_tweets, max_id, since_id, geocode):
    ''' Function that takes in a search string 'query', the maximum
        number of tweets 'max_tweets', and the minimum (i.e., starting)
        tweet id. It returns a list of tweepy.models.Status objects. '''

    searched_tweets = []
    while len(searched_tweets) < max_tweets:
        remaining_tweets = max_tweets - len(searched_tweets)
            new_tweets =, count=remaining_tweets,
#                                    geocode=geocode)
            if not new_tweets:
                print('no tweets found')
            max_id = new_tweets[-1].id
        except tweepy.TweepError:
            print('exception raised, waiting 15 minutes')
            print('(until:',, ')')
            break # stop the loop
    return searched_tweets, max_id

def get_tweet_id(api, date='', days_ago=9, query='a'):
    ''' Function that gets the ID of a tweet. This ID can then be
        used as a 'starting point' from which to search. The query is
        required and has been set to a commonly used word by default.
        The variable 'days_ago' has been initialized to the maximum
        amount we are able to search back in time (9).'''

    if date:
        # return an ID from the start of the given day
        td = date + dt.timedelta(days=1)
        tweet_date = '{0}-{1:0>2}-{2:0>2}'.format(td.year, td.month,
        tweet =, count=1, until=tweet_date)
        # return an ID from __ days ago
        td = - dt.timedelta(days=days_ago)
        tweet_date = '{0}-{1:0>2}-{2:0>2}'.format(td.year, td.month,
        # get list of up to 10 tweets
        tweet =, count=10, until=tweet_date)
        print('search limit (start/stop):',tweet[0].created_at)
        # return the id of the first tweet in the list
        return tweet[0].id

def write_tweets(tweets, filename):
    ''' Function that appends tweets to a file. '''

    with open(filename, 'a') as f:
        for tweet in tweets:
            json.dump(tweet._json, f)

def main():
    ''' This is a script that continuously searches for tweets
        that were created over a given number of days. The search
        dates and search phrase can be changed below. '''

    ''' search variables: '''
    search_phrases = ['#PythonPleaseWork']
    time_limit = 1.0                           # runtime limit in hours 
    max_tweets = 20                           # number of tweets per search but it doesn't seem to be working
    min_days_old, max_days_old = 1, 1          # search limits e.g., from 7 to 8
                                               # gives current weekday from last week,
                                               # min_days_old=0 will search from right now
    USA = '39.8,-95.583068847656,2500km'       # this geocode includes nearly all American
                                               # states (and a large portion of Canada) 
                                            # but it still fetches from outside the USA

    # loop over search items,
    # creating a new file for each
    for search_phrase in search_phrases:

        print('Search phrase =', search_phrase)

        ''' other variables '''
        name = search_phrase.split()[0]
        json_file_root = name + '/'  + name
        os.makedirs(os.path.dirname(json_file_root), exist_ok=True)
        read_IDs = False

        # open a file in which to store the tweets
        if max_days_old - min_days_old == 1:
            d = - dt.timedelta(days=min_days_old)
            day = '{0}-{1:0>2}-{2:0>2}'.format(d.year, d.month,
            d1 = - dt.timedelta(days=max_days_old-1)
            d2 = - dt.timedelta(days=min_days_old)
            day = '{0}-{1:0>2}-{2:0>2}_to_{3}-{4:0>2}-{5:0>2}'.format(
                  d1.year, d1.month,, d2.year, d2.month,
        json_file = json_file_root + '_' + day + '.json'
        if os.path.isfile(json_file):
            print('Appending tweets to file named: ',json_file)
            read_IDs = True

        # authorize and load the twitter API
        api = load_api()

        # set the 'starting point' ID for tweet collection
        if read_IDs:
            # open the json file and get the latest tweet ID
            with open(json_file, 'r') as f:
                lines = f.readlines()
                max_id = json.loads(lines[-1])['id']
                print('Searching from the bottom ID in file')
            # get the ID of a tweet that is min_days_old
            if min_days_old == 0:
                max_id = -1
                max_id = get_tweet_id(api, days_ago=(min_days_old-1))
        # set the smallest ID to search for
        since_id = get_tweet_id(api, days_ago=(max_days_old-1))
        print('max id (starting point) =', max_id)
        print('since id (ending point) =', since_id)

        ''' tweet gathering loop  '''
        start =
        end = start + dt.timedelta(hours=time_limit)
        count, exitcount = 0, 0
        while < end:
            count += 1
            print('count =',count)
            # collect tweets and update max_id
            tweets, max_id = tweet_search(api, search_phrase, max_tweets,
                                          max_id=max_id, since_id=since_id,
            # write tweets to file in JSON format
            if tweets:
                write_tweets(tweets, json_file)
                exitcount = 0
                exitcount += 1
                if exitcount == 3:
                    if search_phrase == search_phrases[-1]:
                        sys.exit('Maximum number of empty tweet strings reached - exiting')
                        print('Maximum number of empty tweet strings reached - breaking')

if __name__ == "__main__":

1 answer

  • answered 2017-11-12 21:14 ZPB

    You can not get 2 months historical data with Search API.

    "The Twitter Search API searches against a sampling of recent Tweets published in the past 7 days. Before getting involved, it’s important to know that the Search API is focused on relevance and not completeness. This means that some Tweets and users may be missing from search results."

    You can use Streaming api with country filter and instead of hashtags you can use a few stop words. Example, for US you can use "the,and" , for France "le,la,et" etc.

    In addition, it is not a good idea to share your access tokens.