The BSA Challenge of Big Data Conference, British Library, 25th October 2013
The British Sociological Association held a one day seminar/workshop, discussing the implications of working with big data for the social sciences, organised in collaboration with Dr Emma Uprichard, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick and Dr Abby Day, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths.
I live-tweeted this event, the results of which are visualised as an interactive network, wordcloud, tweet frequency chart and Dendrogram below.
Explore and Re-Play #bigdataBL Twitter Network (click on ‘Help’ for instructions)
After harvesting the tweets for the conference, I used @mhawksey’s TAGS Explorer tool to visualise Twitter activity linked to the conference hashtag: #bigdataBL. Below is an interactive visualisation of the life of the #bigdataBL hashtag over the days leading up to, during and after the Challenge of Big Data Conference. You can zoom into the network, click on specific nodes, and replay conversations during the event.
Wordcloud of Event
Word Frequency of Tweet Content
Once you take out the hashtag #bigdataBL, you can actually see the top 100 most frequent words used in tweets about the event. Not so surprisingly, “data” is one of the most frequently used words (534 times), and interestingly, mentions of shorthand names for some key speakers (Benoit, Uprichard, Abby, Coleman, Holmwood, Warde) and the names of top tweeters occur quite frequently too.
Dendrogram showing twitter conversations between delegates at the conference
Despite the huge amount of tweets, this shows that relatively little conversation went on between delegates. Most were more intent on tweeting to their wider network, which makes sense when one considers that at conferences, most delegates come from all parts of the country/world and different academic and non-academic fields, so the likelihood that they would need to connect with each other via twitter is low (they are more likely to network face-to-face during conference tea/coffee breaks). There is also the consideration that tweeting information to a wider network that may not have been able to attend/would benefit from knowing about the issues that arose at the conference – may have been the goal of most tweeters.
*Update* Influencer Moth: Social Reach vs. Activity
Using the beta version of the Influencer Moth tool, it was interesting to compare the rates of social reach vs. activity around the #bigdataBL hashtag. Sure enough, as designated live tweeter, I had the most activity (in blue), but the academic with most social reach in terms of connecting with more people interested in the subject area of the conference turned out to be Deborah Lupton (see orange):