Introducing fireant: A freeware, multiplatform social media data-analysis tool

Laurence Anthony*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper introduces a new social media data-analysis tool called FireAnt that allows technical and professional communication researchers, instructors, and students to easily collect, analyze, and visualize social media communication. Problem: Currently, most social media analysis is carried out using custom computer scripts written in programming languages such as Python and R. Although these custom scripts can be very powerful, they create an enormous barrier to those without a strong computational background or the resources to hire a software engineer or data scientist. Key concepts: FireAnt is a freeware, stand-alone, multiplatform social media data-analysis tool designed for both novice and expert computer users. It can be used to collect, analyze, and subsequently visualize social media data as time-series plots, geopositional maps, and network graphs. It can also export results for further processing using traditional corpus tools, statistical packages, and custom scripts. Key lessons: This paper will show how FireAnt can be used to collect social media data related to specific companies, analyze those data, and visualize the data in a variety of ways. Implications for practice: FireAnt has applications in various technical and professional communication settings-for example, as part of a strategy to develop a social media presence and in the analysis of company-customer interactions and user perceptions of goods and services. It can also be used in the technical writing classroom as part of instructor- A nd student-centered instruction on the safe, appropriate, and effective use of language on social media platforms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8490230
Pages (from-to)428-442
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Professional Communication
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec


  • Data analysis
  • FireAnt
  • data visualization
  • social media
  • technical writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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