Management Commands


Many of the key back-end functions of Social Feed Manager (SFM) are invoked using management commands. The SFM management commands are standard Django management commands. As such, they are invoked like any other Django management commands:

  1. First make sure that your virtualenv is activated.
$ source ENV/bin/activate
  1. From <PROJECT_ROOT>/sfm, execute ./ followed by the desired management command, arguments and options.
$ cd sfm
$ ./ <command> [args] [options]

SFM management commands may be run:

  • manually (i.e. at the command line),
  • using cron jobs, and/or
  • using supervisord (in the case of filterstream and streamsample) as described in the section on supervisor and streams.

Each SFM management command is described below.


user_timeline calls the Twitter API to retrieve the available tweets for either all active TwitterUsers in SFM, or for a specific active TwitterUser. Each tweet is created as a TwitterItem in SFM.

user_timeline connects to the Twitter API as TWITTER_DEFAULT_USERNAME, and requests the user_timeline by the Twitter account uid (not by account name). Through the tweepy library, it calls the Twitter API user_timeline method.

For each TwitterUser user_timeline requests only tweets since the newest tweet that was previously retrieved. If no tweets were previously retrieved for that TwitterUser, it requests as many tweets as the Twitter API will provide (up to the 3200 most recent tweets).

To fetch tweets for all active TwitterUsers in SFM:

./ user_timeline

To fetch tweets for a specific twitter user:

./ user_timeline --user='twitter username'

The full specification of user_timeline options can be viewed using –help:

./manage user_timeline --help

Sample output for user_timeline:

user: pinkfloyd
since: 1
saved: 200 item(s)
since: 1
max: 326988934884249599
saved: 200 item(s)
since: 1
max: 168992796676591616
saved: 199 item(s)
since: 1
max: 117550550098247679
saved: 86 item(s)
stop: < 150 new statuses


Twitter account owners can, and often do, change the names of their accounts, although an account’s UID never changes.

update_usernames looks up the names of the Twitter accounts corresponding to all active TwitterUsers. If a Twitter account’s name has changed since SFM last verified the account’s name, update_usernames will update the name of the TwitterUser, and will append the former name (and timestamp) to the TwitterUser’s former_names value. former_names is a json field; an example would be:

{"2014-02-19T21:50:56Z": "OldName", "2014-01-16T13:49:02Z": "EvenOlderName"}

Note that update_username is case sensitive; a change in capitalization is considered a name change.

To update names of all active TwitterUsers:

./ update_usernames

To update names of a specific active TwitterUser, by its current name in SFM:

./ update_usernames --user='current TwitterUser name in SFM'


Deprecated since version m5_001.


The Twitter API provides a streaming interface which returns a random sample (approximately 0.5%) of all public tweets. The SFM streamsample management command directs the content of this stream to files. The location of these output files is determined by the DATA_DIR variable in the configuration file. As streamsample is intended to be run as an ongoing, streaming process, SFM provides a streamsample.conf.template file in <PROJECT ROOT>/sfm/sfm/supervisor.d that can be copied to streamsample.conf and edited to include the relevant pathnames, so that it can be run and managed using supervisord.

streamsample currently generates 2 GB worth of tweet data per day (roughly 2.2-2.5 million tweets), so it is important to plan storage capacity accordingly.

To run manually and view streaming output to the console:

./ streamsample

To run manually and direct output to files in DATA_DIR:

./ streamsample --save

Information on the Twitter API streamsample resource:


The Twitter API provides a streaming interface which returns tweets that match one or more filter predicates. SFM administrative users can create multiple TwitterFilters, each with its own predicate parameters. The SFM filterstream management command directs the content of one or more active TwitterFilters to files. The location of these output files is determined by the DATA_DIR variable in the configuration file.

filterstream is intended to be run as a set of ongoing, streaming processes; SFM automatically generates the necessary supervisord configuration files. However, generation of these files requires the DATA_DIR, SUPERVISOR_PROCESS_USER, and SUPERVISOR_UNIX_SOCKET_FILE settings variables to be configured in .

Each TwitterFilter may contain the following predicates:

Words - It tracks comma-separated and space-separated list of words performing a fetch for tweets equivalent to logical ‘OR’ & ‘AND’ respectively.Please see the TwitterAPI for more info on track.

People - It tracks the twitter usernames to stream, can contain a comma-separated list of screen names.

Location - Geographic bounding boxes to track. A bounding box is of the format: long1,lat1,long2,lat2 where each value is a floating-point number between -180 and 180. This parameter may include mutiple bounding boxes; for example, two bounding boxes would be a comma-separated list of 8 values.

Sample twitterfilter rule:


filterstream takes the parameter twitterfilterid. To run manually and view streaming output to the console:

./ filterstream [twitterfilterid]

To run manually and direct output to files in DATA_DIR, say for twitterfilterid 4:

./ filterstream 4 --save

Information on the Twitter streaming API filter method:


filterstream and streamsample produce sets of data files in the directory determined by DATA_DIR as configured in . The data files are written as rotating files; periodically (as determined by SAVE_INTERVAL_SECONDS in each file is closed and subsequent data is written to a new file. The naming scheme for each data files includes a timestamp. Over time, this can create many files in the DATA_DIR directory.

The organizedata command organizes these files by creating subdirectories named “sample” to data files from streamsample, and “twitterfilter-n” for data files from filterstream, for each TwitterFilter.

Within <DATA_DIR>/sample and each <DATA_DIR>/twitterfilter-n directory, organizedata creates a tree with a subdirectory for each year; within each year directory, it creates a subdirectory for each month; within each of these, a subdirectory for each day.

To run organizedata:

./ organizedata


Each tweet in Twitter has a unique numerical ID. The fetch_tweets_by_id management command takes a file consisting of a list of tweet IDs (one per line), and fetches the associated tweets as JSON.

Errors are logged to a file given the same name as the input file (specified by –inputfile) with an appended extension of .log (e.g. myinputfile.log)

To fetch tweets and output to the console:

./ fetch_tweets_by_id --inputfile='<PATH TO YOUR INPUT FILE>'

To fetch tweets and write to an output file:

./ fetch_tweets_by_id --inputfile='<PATH TO YOUR INPUT FILE>' --outputfile='<PATH TO YOUR OUTPUT FILE>'


Links in tweets are often link-shortened. fetch_urls iterates through all tweets (TwitterItems), extracts each URL found in a tweet and creates a TwitterUserItemUrl for it, and expands the URL if possible. The final URL is stored as part of the TwitterUserItemUrl object.

Note that fetch_urls extracts and expands URLs that are links to web pages as well as embedded media (photos etc.) which are generally URLs.

fetch_urls can be run with the following options:

  • –start-date – The earliest date of tweets to fetch URLs for
  • –end-date – The latest date of tweets to fetch URLs for
  • –twitter-user – The specific twitter username to fetch URLs for
  • –limit – maximum number of URLs to fetch
  • –refetch – include tweets for which URLs were already fetched; refetch URLs for these tweets.

To run:

./ fetch_urls


Tweets stored in SFM associated with a TwitterUser or a TwitterUserSet can be exported in CSV (comma-separated value), Excel or line oriented JSON using the export management command. The user interface also offers CSV exports via a link on each TwitterUser’s page (currently there is no page in the UI for a set).

The format and meaning of each column in the CSV and Excel export is explained in the Data Dictionary.

export can be run with the following options. Either twitter-user or set-name must be specified.

–format – the output format, either CSV, XLS or JSON (default is CSV)

–start-date – exports only tweets starting from the specified date (YYYY-MM-DD)

–end-date – exports only tweets through the specified date (YYYY-MM-DD)

–twitter-user – exports tweets for the specified TwitterUser (by name)

–set-name – exports tweets for the specified TwitterUserSet

–filename – file name for export file (required when –xls is used)

To export tweets for Twitter user “sfmtwitteruser”:

./ export --twitter-user sfmtwitteruser

To export tweets for TwitterUserSet “myset”:

./ export --set-name myset


The createconf command is used to create supervisord configuration files for each active TwitterFilter. This command should only need to be run if TwitterFilters were created in SFM prior to version m4_002, as part of upgrading to SFM version m4_002 or later.

createconf can be run with the –twitter-filter option, to create a supervisord configuration file only for the specified TwitterFilter (specified by numeric id).

To create configuration files for all active TwitterFilters:

./ createconf

To create configuration files for TwitterFilter 5:

./ createconf --twitter-filter 5