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WEC Final: Love 161, Fiasco Zero

One of the great things about Social Media is your ability to monitor conversations.

The general consensus at MPI’s World Education Conference in Vancouver last month was that the Twitter conversations were up and complaining via Twitter was down.

So, I did a short analysis on the Twitter conversations from WEC to see if this was true. My analysis was purely structural and did not allow me to do any deep categorization of the tweets.

MPI WEC WordCloud

Here are some statistics:

  • 511 Unique Tweeters on the #wec10 hashtag from 24-28 July
  • 5126 Individual Tweets under this hashtag.
  • 80% of the Tweets (4100) were made by 20% of the Tweeters (97 people).
  • 36% (1826) of the Tweets were “RT” version retweets.
  • The word love appeared in 161 Tweets, the word great in 469 tweets and the word like in 200 tweets.
  • The word bad appeared in about 40 tweets.

For those of you that are curious, the word “Fiasco” appeared zero times.

What do these statistics mean?

First, they show that we can measure and frame the conversation. However, statistics on their own need to be put into context. I don’t have any statistics about the other MPI events to know if these statistics are above, below or on par with the normal tweetage. (I just made that word up.)

Second, the large number of retweets tells me that the twitterati found ideas tweeted by others worth sharing with their own social networks. Since, we were trying to spread ideas and information outside of the MPI and WEC community – I think this is a valuable statistic.

Third, I did a light keyword analysis and found that the sentiment was mostly positive among the tweeters. I think this is great – because at some events – the twitterati can be brutal. If I had the resources, I would have taken a closer at the keywords and phrases to see what appeared to be the most popular. (The wordcloud above is the best that I could do.)

Finally, these statistics give us insights on participation. Social Media participation does not follow a standard bell curve distribution. You rely on a few people to create most of the Social Media content and a larger group to comment and share that content.

A Word About “Social Media Kung Fu”

Live Tweeting during a session takes some Social Media Kung Fu type skills. Speaking from experience it is hard. Here’s what your live-tweeters have to do: Listen to a sound bite from a speaker, synthesize it into a simple 140 character message, type it into your smartphone without errors and tweet it. All of this happens in seconds. It takes practice to become proficient at it. Not all Social Media people can perform at this level on-site at an event. I still consider myself a student.

Bottom Line

If your intent is to spread ideas from your event to the world, then be sure to recruit some twitterati to live tweet during sessions. When selecting them make sure that they know Social Media Kung Fu and have some tools (like a table and chair with power) so they can type faster.

There is a lot here for us to talk about. What else would you add?

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Note: I did receive partial registration reduction for agreeing to participate in the Social Media Guru program at MPI’s World Education Conference.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. That’s a really interesting analysis, Samuel. While we were onsite, I had a sense that there was a lot of activity going on — most obviously during the general sessions, when the volume of tweets swamped the available capacity — and that people were generally pleased with the social media side of the conference. But the plural of “anecdote” is not “evidence” (I didn’t make that up, but it’s one of my favourite quotes), and I’m glad you’ve put some numbers behind the overall impression.

    I’m also pleased that the word ‘reporter’ figured fairly prominently in the word cloud. The story behind that points to something new that was introduced to the Twitter stream during WEC. The ‘reporter’ tag might point toward a solution for organizations that have been interested in onsite social media but nervous that their messaging will be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of independent voices.

    As usual at WEC, I was onsite wearing a few different hats — as an MPI member and volunteer, but also as one of several companies involved in producing the two general sessions. For each of those sessions, we had a team of two writers and one writer/editor live-tweeting the content as it was presented — so, yes, as the writer/editor on the team, I can echo your comment that it’s a tough job.

    Between the two sessions, we produced 145 tweets, but the nature of the content was more important than the character count: we wouldn’t have contributed to the ‘good’, ‘bad’, or ‘fiasco’ count in the word cloud because everything we produced was focused on reporting **someone else’s opinion**, not our own. (The exception was when I shouted WELCOME, ERIC! when the gavel passed to MPI’s new International Chair.) The intent of the experiment was not to offset or dilute the social media content, but to lead toward the kind of balance that daily newspapers achieve between news reporting and opinion content.

    To my knowledge, this was the first time a conference had used live-tweeting to deliver reporting as well as opinion. Time will tell whether it turns out to be a one-off attempt or a productive new way of integrating onsite content and social media. I’m telling the story at some length, not to promote the approach, but because we’re genuinely interested in gathering feedback on whether it had an impact…and if not, whether we could have produced or signposted the tweets more effectively. I’d really appreciate comments from you and your readers.

    August 15, 2010
  2. Hi Mitchell,

    Thanks for your comment. It was great to meet you at WEC. I remember a few sessions where you were typing so fast that I thought your keyboard was going to catch on fire.

    While I can’t think of an event where live tweeting was done by a reporter – I can think of several examples where attendees have assumed the role of “fact based tweeter” during live sessions.

    I think this role is important role for events that want to use Twitter to spread their messages beyond their four walls. These highlights or sound bite tweets are the ones that seem to be retweeted the most.

    August 16, 2010

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