Tracking a Twitter Conversation with Watershed Essentials

Watershed Essentials delivers basic insights and is designed for L&D practitioners who want to start tracking and exploring learning outside an LMS. The platform not only allows multiple options for getting data in and showing progress, but also serves as a foundation for organizations to build toward more robust learning analytics in the future. Additional product features include dashboard reporting and preconfigured reports that answer common questions about learners and their activities. 

This guide walks you through using Watershed Essentials to track a Twitter conversation via Zapier.

Connecting Twitter and Watershed Essentials via Zapier

To use Zapier, you’ll need to register an account at https://zapier.com/sign-up/. The free plan allows you to track 100 tweets per month, which is fine for experimenting. You’ll need a paid account for real projects.  

To sign up for Twitter: go here: https://twitter.com/signup

Once you have accounts on both Watershed and Twitter, get started using the Twitter to Watershed wizard by clicking "Use this Zap" in the box below. It will take you to Zapier's site to get started, and we walk you through the steps below:

Follow these steps to work through the Wizard:

  1. Click Use this Zap.

  1. Connect your Twitter account. Either use an existing one you might already have set up in Zapier, or set up a new one. Zapier will track all tweets that user is able to see and which match the filter you’ll choose in the next step.

  1. Enter the #hashtag that you want to track Tweets about. This should include the # at the start. Remember: your Zapier pricing plan is based on the number of Tweets you track, so choose your hashtag wisely! Please also note that Zapier will only track future Tweets, not anything Tweeted before you set up the integration.

  1. Connect your Watershed LRS account. Either use an existing one you might already have set up in Zapier, or set up a new one. Let’s assume for this walkthrough that you don’t yet have a Watershed account set up

  1. Click the Connect button.

  1. Enter Watershed credentials.

In the window that pops up, enter your Watershed endpoint, key and secret. If you’re unsure where to find these, read the on-screen instructions carefully for direction.  

You’ll find the link to the ‘add an Activity Provider to Watershed’ guide especially useful. This is will automatically open in a new tab or window.

Once you’ve entered the credentials, click Yes, continue to test the connection.

  1. Enter the #hashtag that you want to track Tweets about again, this time without the #. Click Save + finish!

(Yes, we’re sorry that you have to enter this twice. Take care that the hashtag exactly matches the one used in step 3, except without the # at the start.)

Warning: don’t click the Insert Twitter fields or Show advanced options links unless you know what you’re doing (see xAPI Geek Explanation below).

xAPI Geek Explanation:  Why do I have to enter the hashtag twice?

Zapier works using a step by step process where it fetches data from one system, and then sends it on to another. The first time the hashtag is entered, this is used by Zapier when fetching tweets from Twitter to filter just those tweets including the hashtag. This second field is used by Zapier when building the xAPI statement to add a tag context activity representing the hashtag.

You can see the code for the context activity by clicking Show advanced options and scrolling down to the Context JSON field. The [[placeholder]] code is used to insert the hashtag you entered above. This peek behind the curtain should give you an taste of how a Zapier wizard like this could be created for @mentions, retweets, likes and other Twitter interactions, or indeed for other applications.

 

  1. Test Your Zap. Click the Test out my new Zap button.

  1. Tweet a tweet. Either wait for somebody to tweet using your chosen hashtag, or Tweet yourself. Then click Continue + fetch the tweet.

  1. Send the statement. Click Continue + send to Watershed LRS.

xAPI Geeks can click Show sample statement first to see what’s happening behind the scenes.

  1. Hooray! Your Zap is Working. You’re all done! Great job!

Viewing Data from Twitter on the Watershed Essentials Dashboard

After you've connected Twitter and Watershed Essentials via Zapier, you'll be able to see data on your Watershed Essentials dashboard.

  • The Activities Report shows what activities are being sent to Watershed and the number of interactions your learners have had with each. For Twitter, the Activities reports shows individual tweets (Interactions in the case of Twitter shows the number of times a specific tweet was tweeted). 
  • The People Report shows all of the people that are being sent to your Watershed account and the number of interactions they've had in your data. With a just Twitter connection set up, you'll see a list of people and the number of times they've tweeted. 
  • The Actions Report shows what actions (combination of verb and activity) are being interacted with the most in your account. The most common actions in your account are highlighted. For Twitter data, the Actions report will look very similar to your Activities report.
  • The Interactions by Data Source Report shows the number of interactions sent to Watershed by each data source. If you have only connected Twitter, you'll only see Twitter on the report. 
  • The Data Sources Report shows similar information, but represented as a pie chart.
  • The Interactions Report is a raw stream of interactions from all of your data sources. If the most recent thing you've done is connect Twitter, then you'll see Twitter data at the top.

Viewing Raw xAPI Twitter Data in Watershed Essentials

After you've connected Twitter and Watershed Essentials via Zapier, you'll be able to see raw xAPI data in Watershed Essentials.

On the Data page, go to the Debug menu. This is a stream of xAPI statements displayed in the order that Watershed received them (the most recent statements are first). If you just completed the connection and a few tweets have been captured, you should see your statements at the top of this section. Click the arrow next to the statement name to view the full xAPI statement.

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