Making Social Media Data Matter is back for 2017!


What is Making Social Media Data Matter?

This is the catchy name to a 3-day, hands on, workshop which takes place at Boston University College of Communication from May 31st to June 2nd, in 2017. The workshop is organised by Jacob Groshek, who has published a number of very high quality research outputs related to research on communication technology, politics, and society. You can be sure you are learning from the best.

Who is the event for?

Anyone who works with social media data! This could include professionals such as those in the media, researchers, scientists, and research students. Moreover, anyone with a general interest in social media as a source of research data will benefit from attending the event! No computational background is required, and you will gain new knowledge on network analysis, geolocation, as well as machine learning.

What will you learn from the workshop?

The workshop will cover the theoretical bases of working with big data, and the workshop also includes access to some amazing data platforms such as the Boston University Twitter Collection and Analysis Toolkit (BU-TCAT).  I have used this toolkit for a number of years, and it is one of the best platforms available to researchers. The workshop will also cover the fundamentals of using Gephi.

What will you gain from the event?

Boston University will award delegates with a Certificate in Social Media Analysis: Principals and Practices for Big Data. This is a very valuable certification as Boston University is an internationally recognised, ranked and respected very highly in world-university rankings. Moreover, you will gain access to BU-TCAT,  an exclusive tool which is not available to the general public.

How much does it cost?

The workshop is affordably priced and will cost $1225/£978 for Professionals, $885/£706 for BU Alumni, faculty, and staff. For students the price is set at $685/£547. Please note that a valid student ID will be require in order to register.

Where do I register?

You can read more about the workshop, and register by following this link.



Power of Social Media: Summer School in Central Europe

I am pleased to announce a 3-day intensive Summer School taking place in Vodice, Croatia, located in Central Europe.  The event has been co-organised with Technology Entrepreneurship Senior Lecturer, Sergej Lugovic

There is a lot of social media content out there on the Web. It’s a constant stream, and it can be difficult to make sense of all of the data. Social media analytics has evolved over time and it is now time to think outside of the box. By attending our event you will be able to address the following questions:

  • How are you being mentioned on social media?
  • Who are the influencers in a topic close to your brand – do they follow your brand?
  • What tools should your organisation be using for social media monitoring? Are you currently paying too much?
  • How can you use social media as a method of identifying influencers? Are they real influencers?
  • Who is replying to your tweets? Are the replies positive or negative in sentiment?
  • What can programming languages offer your social media accounts?
  • Is your organisation currently maximizing the potential of machine learning, social network analysis, and audience targeting?
  • Is your organisation aware of all the potential uses of social media data?

Learn about software such as:


 Register here



iConference 2017 in Wuhan, China Highlights

Last week, I attended the 2017 iConference in Wuhan, China. I provide some highlights from my trip below, along with some of my photos from the trip.

My highlights from my trip included me presenting a poster on my pilot study from my PhD, and which received good interest from delegates, particularly concerning the methodology that was used. A number of very useful connections were made from across the world, and there was a lot of interest in the 2018 edition of the iConference which will take place in Sheffield hosted in collaboration with Northumbria University.



I also enjoyed visiting the Yellow Crane Tower, Hubei Provincial Museum, the East Lake, Wuhan, and the Yangtze River. Wuhan is a beautiful city, and the people are very friendly. I read online that the people in Wuhan are unusually nice, and I have to say that this is very true and I felt very welcome in the city.


Yellow Crane Tower


Yangtze River


Hubei Museum


It was also really good to meet Lee (Dr Xuguang Li) an Information School alumni who is now working as an academic in Wuhan. Lee was a very popular student among the iSchool, and I had heard many great things about him, so it was a pleasure to meet him, and we are very grateful that he showed us around Wuhan. I look forward to working with Lee in the future.


Me and Dr Xuguang Li

I am looking very much forward to the iConference in 2018 and welcoming delegates from across the world to Sheffield. I was born and raised in Sheffield and studied both my undergraduate and masters degrees here. Sheffield is a brilliant city, and I think delegates will really enjoy visiting the city as well as enjoying the conference.

Use Audiense to Gain Unique Consumer Insight

Audiense has a number of social listening capabilities, however, the power of the platform lies in its ability to target Twitter users based on a number of powerful metrics. After using the platform for a week, I quickly realised that it could easily be used to help brands increase their reach and revenue. See a list of case studies here.


One of the features that really impressed me was related to creating audiences, and then targeting them. That is, you can set up a number of behaviour triggers and combine this with IBM Watson’s personality insights in order to target Twitter users. The number of filters you can use is staggering, and a full list of filtering features can be found here. The platform is very affordable and the basic rate starts at around $30 a month.

I was not surprised to find out that over 10 thousand brands are using the platform including a number of premier league football clubs. I have the ability to issue readers of my blog a free 30 day trail of the platform, and you can click here to create an account and  you can begin to play around with the features.

Nominated For Outstanding Student Contribution

I found out that a number of students and staff members had nominated me in the upcoming Students Union Awards for the category of Outstanding Student ContributionGreat to be nominated! Highlights of my contribution to the Information School, and the University of Sheffield:

  • Appeared on BBC Radio Sheffield to battle mental health stigma and raised awareness for those suffering from depression and social anxiety
  • Delivered a number of talks related to my research such as to the Department For Work and Pensions (government office in London), to a Fortune 500 company, to delegates at the Creative Entrepreneur event in Media City (ITV, BBC HQs), a workshop to delegates from the British Sociological Association in Leeds, to Sixth Form students at High Storrs School.
  • Upcoming talk to delegates at the European Centre for Nuclear Research at CERN in Geneva
  • Generated impact by managing Twitter accounts of the Data Power Conference and the iFutures conference in 2015
  • Managed Information School’s Twitter account for one day as part of a marketing campaign
  • Serve on the Information School’s Research Staff Student CommitteeSet on the Information Schools Health and Safety Committee
  • Health Informatics Research Group representative
  • Act as a Fire Marshal for my floor
  • Organise Social Events for PhD students at the Information School
  • Informally helped a number potential research students i.e., advice, who are now current students within the Information School across a number of research groups
  • Helped a number of students including MSc and PhD students related to social media research across the UK
  • 3 abstracts/posters on my PhD research including one to the prestigious iConference in 2017 which takes place in China
  • 2 full conference papers on social media research
  • 4 posts on the LSE Impact blog including a post which is ranked as being in the top 1% of all posts i.e. ranked 21 out of 1500 with 23,868 views as of February 2017
  • Forthcoming book chapter with Emerald on social media research ethics
  • Won £250 with the Journalism department from the faculty of social sciences to hold an event for PGRs in May
  • Hold a Faculty Scholarship from the University of Sheffield
  • Formally helped the University of Sheffield’s digital team with their social media as part of a project
  • Taught on the E-business and E-commerce module for 3 semesters running and received excellent student feedback
  • Teaching Assistant on the iSchool’s Deliberation Day
  • Taught on the Data Analysis module for 3 semesters running
  • Guest lectured on the following modules across the University of Sheffield: Public Health Informatics, Big Data Analytics, Data Mining and Visualisation
  • Guest lectured to students on a masters course in Western Sydney Australia 
  • Provided guidance to students using the iLab facilities at the Information School University of Sheffield

For a full list please visit:

List of Top 5 Social Listening Analytics Tools Every Digital Media Manager Should Use In 2017

I have lost count of the number of times social media managers have been distraught at the other end of the phone because they’re fixed into a contract for something they can’t use, and where there is no training.

So I decided to create a list of The top 5 Social Listening Analytics Tools Every Digital Media Manager Should Use In 2017 are:

Discover Text 

DiscoverText can be used to retrieve data from a number of social media platforms and apply powerful text analytics, and machine learning to answer specific research questions. It is very well established and there are a staggering 150 mentions of DiscoverText in scholarly research!

A football club may use DiscoverText to monitor responses to specific games, other clubs, products (t-shirts), as well as other clubs and teams.


You can also filter how to retrieve the data, for example, you can use premium Gnip PowerTrack 2.0 Twitter data. So for example, you could filter by whether a Twitter user has a football club listed in their bio (e.g., Real Madrid etc) as well as the location of the tweet. This may be useful when gauging public sentiment by specific locations and it allows users to perform deep text-analytics. Read my interview for DiscoverText here. 


NodeXL is a great ad-on to services such as Radian 6, Crimson Hexagon, as well as the tools presented in this blog. It has taken off very fast, and the insight you can get from a graph is simply amazing.

2 NodeXL.png

It provides a very nice overview of popular websites, hashtags, keywords, co-words, influencers, replied-to overall and by group-level. The clustering allows users to see, at a glance, what types of content is being shared on the platform. Read my workshop on NodeXL here.


Visibrain is a media monitoring platform and provides very smooth and fast analytics. It makes use of many of Twitter’s meta-data fields and provides powerful insight to to a topics demographics such as country, language, gender, audience, occupation, interest, and client type.


The number of filtering streams is very impressive, and the Quick Trends explorer is very useful for gaining an insight into the number of tweets generated on a specific topic. So, for example, you could use the Quick Trends Explorer to examine the frequency of tweets on a range of topics. You can monitor for unusual activity, and Visibrain can send instant alerts. Read my favorite blog post which details in full all of the fantastic features on my blog here.


Use Echosec, to draw geo-fenced rings around specific geographical areas and monitor the social media posts coming out of them. You can monitor for specific keywords, images, or series of tweets which can then send alerts.

4 echosec.png

Echosec Pro allows users to access at least the following social data feeds: Instagram, Twitter, Foursquare, Panoramio, AIS Shipping, Sina Weibo, Flickr,  and YouTube. Read more about Echosec on my blog. 


I have been involved in reviewing tools, and researching social media for a number of years now, and Audiense can do things with Twitter data I didn’t think were possible. For example, with a couple of clicks, I was able to remove hundreds of bot followers from my Twitter account (without blocking them). I described it to a colleague as feeling like Neo from the Matrix when sat thralling through the dashboard.


It has analytics and monitoring capabilities, however, it is unique in the sense that you can examine your Twitter audience i.e., the followers of your Twitter account, and you can search and filter your audience using a number of impressive metrics. You can use this intelligence to then target users based on content that they are more likely to engage with. You can check out a list of case studies of how brands have used Audiense for this purpose here. Audiense is one of only two official partners of Twitter, and is an official partner with IBM’s Watson.

Contact me for a demo and an introduction to any of the tools above, I am also happy to answer any specific question you and/or your organisation many have.