This month I got a chance to work with R and I must say it does wonders with almost no code, definitely a must try if you work with a lot of data and infographics. The existing packages and libraries are vast and cover almost all of the major APIs you would be working with. In the instructions below I was trying to work with the twitter APIs.

So here it goes, step by step instructions to get you started with R:

  1. Install R software from the link –
  2. After installing R software, open the installed R GUI and then you would need the package that integrates R with Twitter. The library name is twitteR. To install this library, in the R interface you need to go to Packages->Install Packages->From the list select twitteR and click on Ok. Also install the package ‘bit64’ and ‘base64enc’ in case it’s not automatically installed, the exact same way as its mentioned before.
  3. So when you start working with R the first step that needs to be done is loading up the library that we are working with for which the one line syntax is:
    library(twitteR)                                                                                              //This will load up the twitteR library that we would be using.
  4. The twitter APIs use OAuth for authentication for us to access their data. To get this firstly you need to create an application for yourself at Here you will get your API key, API secret, Access token, Access secret and use the details in this command in the given format:
    setup_twitter_oauth(“API key”, “API secret”,”Access token”,”Access secret”)                                 //This would authenticate you to access twitter’s data for the active R session.
  5. r_tweets <- searchTwitter(“#chennaifloods”, n=300) //This would load up the tweets with the given hash tag here we are  doing for Chennai floods and n signifies the number of tweets to be retrieved.
  6. head(tweets)                                                                                               // This would load up just the top 5-6 tweets from the tweets retrieved.
    tweets                                                                                                           // This would load up all the tweets from the tweets retrieve.


Example Sample for visualizations:

There is also a sample code below for doing visualizations with twitter data:

  • library(twitteR)

Loading required package: RCurl

Loading required package: bitops

Loading required package: RJSONIO

  • result <- userTimeline(“BarackObama”, n=3200)
  • length(result)
    [1] 2975
  • df <- twListToDF(result)
  • Created  <- tweet.df$created
  • counts   <- table(as.Date(Created))[-1]
  • dates    <- as.Date(names(counts))


  • # png(“twitteR-BarackPosts.png”, 650, 500)
  • plot(dates, counts, type=”h”)
  • #


Let me know via the comments below if you get stuck anywhere.