Twitter wants researchers to turn its mountains of data into insights, from flu trends to New Years celebrations, that could delight and help the world. So today it announced the Twitter Data Grants program. Researchers can apply to get free access to Twitter’s public tweets and historical data through one of its official data resellers Gnip.
[Correction: Twitter tells researchers won't get the firehose, though the blog post mentions "With more than 500 million Tweets a day, Twitter has an expansive set of data from which we can glean insights". Instead, researchers will only get the data they need for their project.]
Many other big tech companies including Google and Facebook frequently work with researchers like the National Institute Of Health to gleam trends from their data. But Twitter’s program is highly formalized, and is publicly accepting applications from members of the academic research community until March 15th for its first pilot.
The program could help promote Twitter and prove its importance. That’s critical right now as today’s earnings revealed Twitter’s recent growth is relatively slow, up just 3.9% in the last three months compared to 30% over the past year. It also reduced growth forcasts for the future. To become the ad giant its valuation implies, it needs massive scale.