Evaluating term popularity with twitteR

I really wanted to put something together for this series on the twitteR package. Unfortunately, at the moment the number of interesting things than can be done with twitteR, as opposed to through API calls and RCurl, is limited. Regardless, I have Yet Another Invented Application to illustrate a pretty typical use-case for twitteR: grabbing Tweets by search term.

I’ve done this before, for sentiment analysis of Tweets about Republican presidential primary candidates, and indeed, despite its limitations, the searchTwitter()¬†function can be useful. Since the number of Tweets one can grab appears to be limited to 1000, this Gist attempts to infer term popularity by frequency — with only minor success, as you can see in the plot below.