Connecting Twitter and Pocket using Python

By 0x7df, Fri 23 October 2015, modified Fri 23 October 2015, in category Programming

api, pocket, python, twitter

This blog post gives an intro to connecting to the Twitter Streaming API using the Python library Tweepy. There are two Python routines: one to connect to Twitter and download relevant tweets to a file, and a second to post-process the file using Pandas and create some graphs using Matplotlib.

In particular the scripts use regular expressions to identify tweets that contain links, where those tweets have previously been filtered by keywords such as 'python', 'javascript', 'tutorial', etc.

I liked the idea of extracting these links automatically, and thought about going a step further and collecting those links in Pocket, using the Pocket API.

None of this required the tweets to be written to a file first, so I adapted the scripts to do everything in real time rather than post-processing, and Pandas wasn't required.

The script needs to connect to the Pocket account using previously retrieved credentials. It uses pocket, another Python library for connecting to the Pocket API; an example of its use is here. My code for connecting to Pocket looks like this:

import pocket

with open('pocket_api_key.txt') as fileHandle:
    (pckt_consumer_key, pckt_access_token, redirect_uri) = \
        [item.strip('\n') for item in fileHandle.readlines()]

if __name__ == '__main__':
    # Pocket authentication
    pocket_instance = pocket.Pocket(pckt_consumer_key, pckt_access_token)

Next, I connect to the Twitter Streaming API using the filter method, which returns only tweets that contain certain pre-defined keywords. This is straight from the original post.

from tweepy.streaming import StreamListener
from tweepy import OAuthHandler
from tweepy import Stream

# Read the Twitter API key data from a file (not in the repository)
with open('twitter_api_key.txt') as fileHandle:
    (access_token, access_token_secret, consumer_key, consumer_secret) = \
        [item.strip('\n') for item in fileHandle.readlines()]

# Set the keywords to filter the Twitter stream for
keywords = ['python', 'javascript', 'fortran', 'bash', 'linux', 'css',
            'jquery', 'api', 'git', 'vim', 'julia']

# This is a basic listener that prints received tweets to stdout
# Over-ride the tweepy.Stream listener to provide methods
class StdOutListener(StreamListener):

    """Create stream listener class for Twitter Streaming API."""

    def on_data(self, data):
        """Process individual tweet."""
        return True

    def on_error(self, status):
        """Handle error from Twitter Streaming API."""
        print status
        if status == 420:
            return False
        return False

if __name__ == "__main__":

        # Handle Twitter authentication and connection to Twitter Streaming API
        listener = StdOutListener()
        auth = OAuthHandler(consumer_key, consumer_secret)
        auth.set_access_token(access_token, access_token_secret)
        stream = Stream(auth, listener)

        # Filter Twitter stream according to keywords

(Clearly the error-handling needs finishing.) Each tweet is processed by the function myrespond(), which looks for tweets that also contain the word 'tutorial', and extracts the link if there is one.

import re
import json

def getdata(tweet, key):
    """Get dictionary value given key."""
        val = tweet[key]
    except KeyError:
        return ''
    return val

def word_in_text(word, text):
    """Search for work in text string."""
    if, text.lower()):
        return True
    return False

def extract_link(text):
    """Extract link from tweet or return null string."""
    regex = r'https?:..[^\s<>"]+|www\.[^\s<>"]+'
    match =, text)
    if match:
    return ''

def myrespond(data):
    """Respond to relevant tweet."""
    tweet = json.loads(data)
    lang = getdata(tweet, 'lang')
    if lang == 'en':
        text = getdata(tweet, 'text')
        link = extract_link(text)
        if word_in_text('tutorial', text) and link != '':
            print text
            print link
            print pocket_instance.add(url=link)
            print "-----------------------------------------------------------"

The myrespond() function uses the json library to turn the JSON-format data containing the tweet into a Python dictionary, then another function getdata to access individual data items; if the language is English, then the text of the tweet is extracted and the re library used to return the link. Finally, the Pocket API is used to add the link to Pocket.

There's probably some sophistication that could be added to this to ensure better quality links are identified; I could, for example, use my own tweets and blog posts as a reference corpus, and test the similarity of tweets to the text in my corpus; and then only add links that have a similarity score above some threshold.

The full code is on GitHub, at


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