[hh via e-mail 30-Aug-2017]
i'm not aware of anyone in our lab having done work with automated searches on social media. i remember there was a sonification competition with respect to twitter, you know when there was this hype about the twitter API. i have very limited experience myself, i know the basics of REST queries, having written a freesound.org query library, and i guess most of the social networks that offer APIs are kind of similar in the general approach. in terms of trends, i think there might be a few things, i remember google trends: https://trends.google.com/trends/ - perhaps they have some sort of API (this question suggests that 'no' but there are workarounds: https://www.quora.com/Does-Google-Trends-have-a-publicly-available-API). but again, i think these services will mostly focus on the 'viral' aspects and not the margins of what is happening. the problem is that most social media are either proprietary and closed or open source but decentralised (and thus probably without such query facilities). i would imagine that if you already have a particular query term, then you can perhaps trace how it evolves over time, using temporal constraints in the search for example. i would also think that it's much easier to get hold of data that people publish instead of their searches, as that
data by definition is publicly available. so you could probably crawl twitter feeds and make statistics across time bands, and so forth.