Libraries exist in R and Python for downloading tweets, however the majority of webhosts don’t support R but they do tend to support Python. Since we want to download tweets around the clock then we want the scripts to run on a webhost (the cheaper the better) hence this post on python.
I considered running a server at home but when you consider the electricity bill it actually works out significantly cheaper to use a webhost (saves ~£80 a year).
To get started with Python I’d recommend downloading www.pythonxy.com it’s multi-platform, has a good community and a ton of great packages for scientific analysis.
Visit http://docs.python.org/tutorial/ for a comprehensive tutorial on how to program in python.