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Twitter is a popular source of data for many applications, especially involving sentiment analysis and the like. I have some things I'm interested in doing with Twitter data, but here's the issue: To get all Tweets, you have to get special permission from Twitter (which, as I understand it, is never granted) or pay big bucks to Gnip or the like.

OTOH, Twitter's API documentation says:

Few applications require this level of access. Creative use of a combination of other resources and various access levels can satisfy nearly every application use case.

Using the filter api with keyword tracking seems like something that would be a big part of this, but you obviously can't enumerate every keyword. Using a User stream on many User accounts that follow a lot of people might be an option as well, and I'm not sure if it makes sense to think about using the search API in addition.

So here's the question "What combination of other resources and access levels is the best way to get the maximum amount of data from Twitter"?

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    $\begingroup$ The "creative use" depends on your application. The key is in the details: "Creative use of a combination of other resources and various access levels can satisfy nearly every application use case". What's your application? Do you want geo-encoded tweets, a statistical representation of all historical tweets, a longitudinal representation over 1 year, a representative sample from a specific region, a representative sample in a particular subject area? $\endgroup$
    – AN6U5
    Aug 17 '15 at 18:42
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Topsy - The site provides much more rate limit, and has archived all the tweets from 2006. Its API provides a free trial.

A solution that is paid will be Gnip's Full history search API

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