Export Twitter Followers and Friends using a Google Spreadsheet

Recently I’ve noticed a growing number of people arrive at this blog having searched for ‘export twitter followers’. Rather than them leaving disappointed here’s a Google Spreadsheet I threw together which allows you to grab a copy of your friends/followers:

*** Google Spreadsheet to Export Twitter Friends and Followers ***

Update: added the ability to download other peoples friends/followers

Benefits of using Google Spreadsheet

  • Control - You register for your own API key with Twitter so you have full control of the account
  • Automatic whitelisting – Twitter currently automatically whitelist applications built in Google Spreadsheets this means instead of 150 API request per hour you get 20,000 meaning you can export a lot
  • Playing with the data – as you are importing straight into a spreadsheet you can do all of your own data manipulation like sorting, filtering and creating your own formula for things like follow/follower ratios
  • Backup – Google Spreadsheets allow you to download copies of spreadsheets in different formats
  • Share – You can make your lists of friends/followers easily viewable

Where’s this all going?

Having already done other things with the Twitter API and Google Spreadsheets (See Populating a Twitter List via Google Spreadsheet … Automatically!, Collect/backup tweets in a Google Spreadsheet, Google Apps Script, Spreadsheets, Twitter and Gadgets) the Twitter/Google Spreadsheet back is well and truly broken. You’ll probably see fewer posts one this area with new stuff instead I’ll probably start properly documenting the little code snippets I use (but if you have any interesting ideas you want help with get in touch).

This doesn’t mean I’ll be walking away from Google Spreadsheets. As recent posts like Turning Google Spreadsheets into a personal or group bookmarking service, show there is huge scope in using Spreadsheets as a very flexible rapid development platform.

Below are some bits of the code used in my new spreadsheet (all the code is viewable via the Script Editor in the Spreadsheet):

function tw_request(method, api_request){
  // general purpose function to interact with twitter API
  // for method and api_request doc see http://dev.twitter.com/doc/
  // retuns object
  var oauthConfig = UrlFetchApp.addOAuthService("twitter");
  var requestData = {
        "method": method,
        "oAuthServiceName": "twitter",
        "oAuthUseToken": "always"
   try {
      var result = UrlFetchApp.fetch(
      var o  = Utilities.jsonParse(result.getContentText());
    } catch (e) {
   return o;
function getFriendAndFo(sheetName){
  var ss = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet();
  var sheet = ss.getSheetByName(sheetName);
  sheet.getRange(2, 1, sheet.getLastRow(), sheet.getMaxColumns()).clear({contentsOnly:true}); //clear sheet
  var cursor = "-1";
  while(cursor != "none"){ // while twitter returns data loop
    try {
      var o = tw_request("GET", "statuses/"+sheetName+".json?cursor="+cursor); // note using sheetname to build api request
      var data = o.users;
      for (i in data){ // extracting some subobjects to top level (makes it easier to setRowsData)
        if (data[i].status){
          for (j in data[i].status){
            data[i]["status_"+j] = data[i].status[j];
        if (data[i].screen_name){ // also build url to jump to profile page
          data[i]["profile_link"] = "http://twitter.com/"+data[i].screen_name;
      var headRange = sheet.getRange(1, 1, 1, sheet.getMaxColumns());
      var rowIndex = sheet.getLastRow()+1;
      setRowsData(sheet, data, headRange, rowIndex); // dump data for this loop to sheet
      if (o.next_cursor!="0"){
        cursor = o.next_cursor; // get next cursor
      } else {
        cursor = "none"; // break
    }  catch (e) {

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This blog is authored by Martin Hawksey e-Learning Advisor (Higher Education) at the JISC RSC Scotland N&E.

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