Sunday, 24 February 2013

Tracking #Oscar tweets

With hours to go before the Oscars we are already seeing very high tweeting coming from the Oscar site. The Oscars have all the making of a twitter feeding frenzy, with people wanting to be the first to share images of celebrities and lots of news coming from inside and outside the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

Tweeting around the site of the Oscars was already near 200 geo-tagged tweets an hour around noon.
What we are seeing in the tweets around noon local time in 2013:
  • High interest: not surprising that a large number of tweets from the location are being retweeted.  This accounts for about 40% of the high tweeting value.
  • Over 30% of tweets mention the term Oscars, this fits an observation I have made  that a major event will be mentioned by 1/3 of tweets.
  • Over 10% mention Academy
  • About 5% of the tweets are mentioning fashion but only 1% movie, but these probably because it is early

Tracking tweets from Vatican #Pope

Track tweets coming from the Vatican.  This will be Pope Benedict's last public appearance so it will be an interesting opportunity to see how a truly historic event will impact twitter usage in the area.  No Pope has resigned for centuries so this will be an extremely historic event, a Pope saying goodbye to a church of over one billion followers.

The election of a new Pope drove twitter levels very high as the first such event in the age of Twitter took place. 
After the Pope spoke tweeting reached about 200 geo-tagged tweets an hour.  
Tweeting peaked just around 60 geo-tagged tweets an hour within the Vatican before  the Pope spoke.

  • Tweeting is elevated from the rest of Rome, but is not very high compared to events like the Oscars.  The Vatican though is a fairly small place.  During most of the service tweeting ran about 60 geo-tagged tweets an hour.  After the Pope gave his farewell speech tweeting is got up to about 120 geo-tagged tweets an hour.  Which is far lower than a major Spanish protest or the Oscars. But there was a clear surge after the Pope finished speaking.
  • About 50% of tweets are referencing the Pope explicitly in various language, which is very hight.   I rarely see an event mentioned by more than 1/3 tweets from a KM around an area.
  • As you might guess there are a lot of languages.
  • Very high retweeting, about half the geo-tagged tweets are in fact retweets of tweets coming from Vatican.  That is the event is being amplified. 
Compared to the Oscar the Pope's resignation is not a major Twitter event.  The Oscars saw tweeting rise in to the hundreds pre hour.

You can compare the tweeting from the Vatican compared to just outside to see the impact of the Pope's presence on Twitter.

You can use the tool below to see the tweets coming from the Vatican area right now:

Monday, 18 February 2013

How the web is remaking space in different ways

Social Media map for Singapore
Network theorists will often talk about two kinds of social networks that structure and organise space.  Centralised networks are the products of groups and political power, they seek to establish a official sense of a place.  Against these are local system of knowledge and speech are local slangs and local knowledge, where local people form networks of knowledge about places.  Traditionally these two processes are seen as in conflict: with authority exerting universal knowledge about places and local communities resisting with their own folk knowledge, but web 3.0 makes this dynamic more complex.  

On the web Wikipedia is a open sourced effort to create a definitive central source of information on the web.  Just because Wikipedia is open to the global community to edit, that is it is democratic, that does not mean it lacks institutions and systems of power.  
You might think that because something is crowd sourced it is different than the kinds of social networks established by governments or businesses, but actually stop to think about some major social networks and their impact on a space:
  • Wikipedia seeks to establish those locations of cultural, political, or historical note in a central authoritative system, much like a church or university.  
  • Yelp and Foursquare seek to measure venues, giving the user a means of ranking and evaluating them, just a a company may evaluate employees or a school may rank students.

Social Media map for Jakarta Indonesia
This is one of the reasons I am so interested in Twitter, Twitter is a much more open communication channel.  People can speak about what they want, post the photos and links they like for a place and they don't have to be too concerned about administrators or the votes of millions of other people.  If I see an image I can post it without concern for it being approved by an administrator or how it is voted.

Certainly Twitter has its only political ranking of follower counts and retweets.  But it still offers the most direct access to publishing by locals who may be part of communities or not part of fixed networks.  This is probably why it is so popular with political protests.

But the danger is that twitter is not a great place to build networks need to exercise power.  The 140 character limit is ideal for shouting and sharing images, and a place for people with shared ideas to meet, but it lacks the 'space' to engage in discourse.

So this is the state of geo-social data.  On one end crowd sourced sites that, regardless of their motives, will establish new networks of power like those described by Foucault.  System to count, evaluate, name and establish the meaning and structure of space.  Twitter can do this, but it may also give users a free from way to write their own messages about a community and location.  For areas where the internet is not well established mobile tweeps have the potential to build networks using Twitter's flexible tools.

But there is a danger that Twitter can isolate voices who may be shouting out at no-one.  As of yet I am aware of a solid theory of who people are generally tweeting to.  I am not convinced of the emergent theorist who seem to hold that networks will emerge in to higher levels of organisation.  Rather I look thinking going from Twitter the future is places like MeetUp, where people connected via social networks can engage in face to face.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Track tweets from #OneBillionRising sites

You can use these tools to see how many tweets are being shared from One Billion Rising Demos.  You can also access the content of tweets being shared.

London Parliament Square will be seen of One Billion Rising demonstration at 11:00 GMT on the 14th of February 2013

One Billion Rising will plan protest events around the world on the same day to bring attention to the issues of rape. It looks as thought there will be hundreds of events around the world.  You can find a list One Billion Rising events here.

This may be the largest flash mob in human history, and I have provided these tools so you can see the impact on geo-tagged tweeting, and also to drill down on what people at the events are sharing on twitter. Other major events to watch are blow, but there will be hundreds more around the world. Events will be happening at different times during to the day, consult the schedule for other locations:
Your Current Location



New Delhi

Los Angles

New York, though there are a lot of them

Monday, 11 February 2013

Real time tweeting in #Tahrir تويتينغ عالية في

There is continued major protest in Cairo and this is driving up tweeting. The recent June 30th demos have had a major impact on driving up tweeting, but this is not a Gezi Park protest.  The event in Egypt is happening on the ground now, real people protesting.  Social Media's role is clearly much less significant with tweets reflecting what is happening not driving it as they did in Turkey.

The 1/3 rule

Is something significant is happening in an area you will expect 1/3 of tweets from that area to mention it.

Twitter at the Vatican as the Pope quits

The pope is quitting. Tweets coming from around the Vatican are very interesting. Though not a lot of tweeting come from the Vatican they pose an interesting semantic challenge as they tend to be in a lot of different languages. This makes effective translate hard. But at For the hour after the announcement we saw this pattern for tweets coming from the area around the Vatican:
  1. At first geo-tagged tweeting from the Vatican is not very high with about 50 geo-tagged tweets an hour coming through for the entire area of the Vatican. Certainly there are many more tweets not using geo-location. This level rose extensively over the next hour to several hundred tweets per hour for the Vatican.
  2. At first 35% of tweets and retweets with geo-tags for near the Vatican use the terms papa or pape, which mean pope.  But after another hour this rose to 70%.
  3. 37% are retweets, almost all coming from Radio personality @mario_desantis, who is tweeting from the area making jokes about the political situation, also @CatholicNewsSvc is being retweeted a great deal.  But after another hour this rose to 70%.
  4. 25% of tweets uses hastags.
Its seems that a large crowd of people are assembling in the Vatican on news of the Pope resignation. 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Twitter at #London #Chinatown

The above tool allows you to count and view tweets states in London Chinatown on Chinese New Year.

Quora down, does anyone care?

When Quora went down late on the 9th of February, early on the 10 here in Europe, it gave an opportunity to see how popular it was.  Would twitter be flooded with paniced users looking for a social media fix like when Facebook went down?  Over a period of 15 minutes there were only 9 posts to twitter concerning the Quora service being down.

Now it was only down for about 15 minutes and it may have only been down for certain regions, but this kind of twitter response indicates that the service may not be that popular.  I recall than when Wikipedia went down a few years back I had more than 9 posts about it just on my Facebook timeline.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Track #MardiGras through twitter

Track Mardi Gras on Twitter. The above tool tells you how many tweets per hour are coming from the area. The tool below lets you see what is being tweeted from the event. Both tools require that the tweep voluntarily gives their location so this is not spying, just sharing the good time with people who want to share.

Some interesting statistics about tweeting from Mardi Gras taken from a random sample of 100 tweeets coming from the area at about 8pm on Saturday the 9th of Feburary:
  • 35% of tweets clearly are about something to do with Mardi Gras.
  • 20% of the tweets with geo-location metadata for the area are actually retweets.
  • Only about 3% of the RTs concern Mardi Gras at all, most are viral retweets of a small number of tweets. .
  • 30% of tweets contain image uploads.
  • 14% of tweets from the area mention Mardi Gras
  • 2% of tweets mentions beads, but 6% mentions drinks or drinking.
  •  About 5% mention float and 2% mention parade
So a lot of people are tweeting about Mardi Gras and a lot of people are posting images. 1 in 3 tweets are clear about Mardi Gras, though most tweets are impossible to be sure what they are about.  There are a lot of image being uploaded but Mardi Gras is not producing a lot of chatter on twitter.  Very few tweets about Mardi Gras are being retweeted.  Also few tweets about Mardi Gras are conversations.  The typical Mardi Grad tweets is something like "Im at this place, its fun, here a picture" which is not at all surprising. 

Conclusion: clearly Mardi Gras is a big event where a lot of people who attend wants others to know they attend and what to share images. No doubt a lot of people are looking at these images. But there is really no information content to Mardi Gras like there is to a protest or even a major sporting event where the outcome is unknown. It is raw spectacle without providing a basis for discussion and discourse. How many tweets can you read saying 'I am at such and such a place, amazing fun'. This is an interesting point since marketers tend to target events like this. Ad spend at the event may have a large impact on those attending and sober enough to notice, but there seem to be little evidence that it will go viral on social media as there is no real discussion going on.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Twitter usage in London: case study

Five of data from London showing that tweeting is highly governed at the city level
The graph above is a random five days showing the levels of twitter intensity for a square KM around Bank, the financial centre, Brick Lane, a popular social spot on the east end, and Oxford Street, a major global shopping area.

As you might anticipate the rates of tweeting int these areas are very different.  Oxford streets is a massive crowed areas and its it almost always the sigh of the highest tweeting.  Brick Lane is sometimes as active as Bank Street, the site of the Bank of England and many large banks, but other times it is very low.

But what is really striking how the city level impacts tweeting.  Tweets in all three major location, despite being very different kinds of places used for different kind of things, the rates of tweeting in all locations still rises and falls in line with each other.  If you want to predict the level of tweeting in Brick Lane the best basis of prediction would be to look at the tweeting level in Bank or Oxford Street.

Now a large part of this is because of overlap.  Because of the way geotagging work the same tweet can be count as being with 1 KM of Brick Lane and Bank Street.  But there seems to be a large degree where tweeting levels are governed on a city level.

You might respond that tweets seems to be governed by time.  This does normally seem to the the fact, but the way time impacts tweeting is governed on a city wide level. The chart bellow shows a a different period with the tweets from Brick Lane in red and Bank Street in Blue.  There is a drop around Christmas and you can see both go down at the same time.

Brick Lane levels of tweeting in red and Bank Street in blue, you can clearly see dramatic rise and fall between the two of them.

Above with see the end of 2012 for midtown Manhattan in New York, with blue showing Christmas.  New York is striking in that tweeting is higher and more consistently higher, even at night.

#Bahrain, democracy and the web

On 6th of Feburary 2013 we have seen one of the highest twitter levels near Budaiya High way we have ever seen.  50% of the tweets from this area use the word حوار dialogue.  Lots of political discussion going on.

Massive tweeting coming from Bahrain on February 6th 2013.
In 2011 I wrote an analysis of the protests in Bahrain, at that time my conclusion was that the protests had established, in part online and in public forums, key elements that any successful long term social movement needed:
  • Level of engagement, are enough people involved?
  • Level of social network among members, are the people working together?
  • Level of identity formation of members, do the people really see this as their cause?
I base these conclusions on this social media trends:
  • Consistently high tweeting in Bahrain, indicating a great deal of chatter during the time of protests.
  • Drill down of these tweets show a great deal of 'discourse' with people mentioning each other and RT each other.
  • Many political avatars and posts active in Bahrain.
  • Willingness of people to post with geo-locations turned on.
  • The content on twitter with hashtags popular with Bahrain protest members like Feb14 and Lulu (Lulu since has dropped by Feb14 and Bahrain stay active)

Since that time protests in Bahrain have lost much of the international attention, in part because of a crack down and in part because of a global disillusionment with the Arab Spring as an event. But this does not mean that social media has become unengaged in Bahrain.  Which has not happened. 

My conclusion is, from continued study of the social media content, is that despite extensive repression by the state, including the symbolic destruction of Lulu square, and the intervention of major outside players trying to support the monarchy, like Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, that the network of people engaging in reform has if anything expanded and become more locally effective.
My principle tool of research has been twitter and Facebook.  I have joined a number of Facebook groups on Bahrain and for over a year now have been watching their activity.  I have noticed these trends:
  • A movement of the issue from International to local.
  • Continuing high presence of protests.
  • A growing diminishing of support for the regime on social media. 
There is still a massive churn of discussion on Twitter about #Bahrian  Tweets contain a vast number of political posts, and many profiles show strong alliances to reform or the Regime.

Alwafaq News from Bahrain posts information on protest, a very popular Facebook page it rarely posts in English. 

What I think is happening is that social media is now supporting the face to face.  This is interesting idea.  Normally we assume that social media is destroying the strength of face to face community, but in  many cases it may be the other way around.  A local community or movement like Occupy may come back as a surprising social community after existing for a time online, as when OccupyWallStreet became OccupySandy.

Social Media contains so much evidence of a mass movement taking place in Bahrain it is hard to understand the lack of coverage in many media
In Bahrain it seems that social media is still a key part in supporting a mostly local effort at reform.

This tool will enable you to track tweets and retweets originating from Manama Bahrain. Even in translation it is striking how much discussion is about politics.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Tracking tweets from #SuperBowl

Massive tweeting at Super Bowl with over 400 tweets per hour coming from the 250 KM around the Superdome
The tool below shows the geo-tagged tweets coming from the Super Bowl.  You can see what people are saying at or near the game.  Since the vast majority of people do not use hashtags this is probably a better way to see what is going on inside of the game, from people who are there. For example only 30% of the tweets coming form the area mention either Super Bowl or Superbowl.  Only 12% of the tweets coming from the Super Bowl use the hashtag #SuperBowl.  Geo-location is a more reliable tool for seeing what is going on than semantic mining.

Sadly I am based in London and have a big train voyage in the morning, so I will leave it to you.

And here is a tool to track the intensity of tweeting coming from the event.

As we moved closer to the game Tweets coming form the Super Bowl site are rising.  This will be one of the first Super Bowls you can follow on twitter.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Twitter tracking #USEmbasy bomb in Ankara

Below is a stream of tweets coming from 1KM around Ankara.

The link is here.

Using Google translation I cam up with these statistics:
  • 15% of the tweets in the first hour after the explosion used the Turkish work for Explosion: patlama.
  • 18% used the bomb or the turkish bomb.
  • 2% used suicide, one in english and one in turkish.
  • 10% of the tweets made some reference to embassy, the most common form was ABD elçiliğine which translates as Turkish Embassy.
  • 2 tweets mentioned dead and injured
  • 1 tweet mention an attack.
  • Interesting enough 20% of tweets were for Foursquare checkins, even after the explosion.  Foursquare checkins were the single largest class of tweet over news repost, retweet, or picture post after the explosion.  
In total almost 30% of tweets coming from a 1KM radius of the blast made some reference to the explosion over an hour in a 1KM radius.  Over all tweeting levels were elevated for the area but not extremely high.  Interesting also is that within 2 hours all discussion ended.  Obviously the bomb was fairly small, people fairly close to it went about their business checking in to Foursquare.

Tweets coming from 1 KM of the site: