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:
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.
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.
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.
This past week I have been in Wuhan, China presenting at the 2017 iteration of the iConference.
This study was a pilot study which analysed a subset of tweets related to the 2014 Ebola epidemic.
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.
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 4 Social Listening Analytics Tools Every Digital Media Manager Should Use In 2017 are:
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.
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.
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.
I had the pleasure to speak at a PubhD event in Sheffield this week. The concept is to use a whiteboard and a marker pen to explain your research in 10 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of questions. In exchange for speaking you receive a free drink, and I had a pint of diet coke. The event is a great way to test out your public speaking and engagement skills. and as a delegate it is a fantastic opportunity to learn something new.
I saw on the PubhD Sheffield Facebook page that a speaker had dropped out, so I messaged to see if I could speak. With less than a day to prepare I stepped up to the challenge. My talk went down very well, and there were a lot of very interesting questions.
I have delivered many talks over the last year or so, and I have to say speaking at PubhD Sheffield is up there as one of the best. The organisers were very friendly and fit me in at the last minute, and all of the delegates were very lovely.
I highly recommend this event for attending and speaking at. I had a really good time. It was also a great opportunity for me to get feedback on my work, so I also really enjoyed that aspect of the night.
Visit the PubhD Sheffield website: http://PubhDSheffield.strikingly.com/
Follow PubhD on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PubhDSheffield
My abstract for the talk
Social networks and social media allow people to share what they think during an outbreak. So my PhD looks at the types of things people say, and whether it based on truth, and to see if it would be harmful. I am looking at Ebola from 2014, and Swine Flu from 2009. I have some found some surprising and interesting things about what types of things users were talking about. For example there is a lot of stigma and discrimination during infectious disease outbreaks can have negative consequences. As well as doing my PhD, I have blogged about social media research and as a result I have been invited to and delivered quite a lot of high profile talks. These have been to government, multi-million turn-over companies, academia, the mainstream media including the likes of the BBC, and I have been awarded funding to work on projects, and deliver training
Being an undergraduate was very difficult for me. Plagued by serious mental health issues, low self-esteem, loneliness, and isolation. I could not talk about how I felt, it was not something I could do. The only way I made it through my undergraduate degree is because I was assigned a Disability Adviser and they drew up a plan where I felt comfortable attending seminars and lectures. They were very supportive. The University of Sheffield has a great set of support services.
I went on to study for a Masters and this was a great year where I made many friends, though after this I would experience a lot of lows. I struggled to find a job, I had bad anxiety, and low self-esteem. On one occasion, I did not leave my house for a week. Most people I knew had moved away from Sheffield, so I felt very lonely, and I am really glad I made it out of this period alive. Though, I was empty from inside. I often listened to Al Pacino’s speech from Any Given Sunday:
We are in hell right now, gentlemen believe me and we can stay here and get the shit kicked out of us or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch, at a time.
Feeling the lows I felt, starting out a PhD in September 2014, I had nothing to lose. Slowly, I started to fight off my anxiety. I took small steps, saying ‘Hello’ to strangers, recording myself speak and listening to it back, delivering very short presentations and increasing the length bit by bit, I volunteered to do temp work where I would have to speak to people. By taking very small steps I manged to fight my fears, to climb out of hell.
The last two years or so have been good, I have met many people across the world. I have made new friends. I have worked on a number of interesting and important projects, I have delivered a number of talks.
I made it to BBC Radio Sheffield last week to talk about my journey. I would like to dedicate the achievement to all of the brilliant teachers, and support workers that helped me over the years.
You can listen to the interview here, and it starts at the 1 hour 35 minute mark.
Check out my talk on the ethical challenges of using social media data in research for delivered as part of the Bite Size Guide to Research in the 21st Century on the 24th of January, Sheffield, ScHARR. Thanks very much to Andy Tattersall for organising this very great event, and to Dan Smith for editing this very good video. Watch here:
Comments, and thoughts welcome.
I thought I’d look back at the previous 6 months or so, in terms of the some of the workshops I have delivered, and articles published.
Attended the CIFI Security Summit in July, endorsed by the Metropolitan Police and with speakers from the National Crime Agency (NCA), and participants including Barclays, HM Revenue and Customs, Royal Bank of Scotland, Counter Terrorism Command, US Air Force, and Unilever. See write up here. See an image below:
Presented a poster at the graduation celebration event at the Information School related to the topic of my PhD. I found the event to be really helpful as it allowed me to talk about my research within the iSchool, and hear about previous research that doctoral students had undertaken. See an image of me at the event, below:
Delivered a workshop to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The seminar was also broadcast to members from the DWP Office in Sheffield. The talk centred on social media analytics from my PhD work and covered applications such as Echosec, Visibrain, and NodeXL. Slides here. See an image of me speaking at the event below:
Published a blog post based on a conference paper looking at the benefits of Twitter in teaching. The post was ranked among the most popular posts of the week when it was released. Both the conference paper and blog post have been co-authored with Sergej Lugovic, Senior Lecturer at the Zagreb University of Applied Sciences. The LSE blog post can be read here. Our paper has over 300 reads in ResearchGate, and was ranked as the most read paper in my department for several weeks.
Early in the month of October I delivered a talk to A-Level students at High Storrs School, Sheffield. The talk centred on what it was like to do a PhD, and provided a brief introduction to social media research. I also touched on the ethics of social media research, and the dangers of over-sharing. Slides can be accessed here. See an image of me talking to A-Level Sixth Form students at the school below:
It was great to go back to my old school, and meet the teachers. Later on in the month I was off to London, and I delivered a talk on Social Network Analysis with NodeXL at an event organised by the New Social Media New Social Science (NSMNSS) network alongside the Social Research Association (SRA). The event was attended across sections with delegates from industry, academia, and government. See an image of me talking at the event below:
I delivered a workshop titled “insights into social media” at Media City, Salford, which is the home to the BBC and ITV. The workshop was a part of the Creative Entrepreneur event, which aims to foster collaboration between academia and industry, and which was attended by over 500 delegates. See an image of me talking at the event below:
- I enjoyed helping and taking photographs of various events that were organised as part of the Space for Sharing Project. One of the events was a play following five women diagnosed with breast cancer. It took place in the Spiegeltent in Barkers Pool. See an image of the event below:
- I advised and sent feedback to a number of University Research Ethics committees in regards to social media research ethics. We have co-authored a book chapter on social media research ethics forthcoming in 2017.
- I was featured in the annual White Rose DTC Newsletter, in the Researchers in The News section, for the third academic year in a row. Read here.
- I was featured in the Doctoral Times magazine (Autumn 2016) circulated widely across the University of Sheffield.
- I taught on the Data Analysis Module for the third and final academic year.
- I had an abstract accepted to the iConference 2017.
Visibrain is a powerful media monitoring tool which has access to the Twitter Firehose which means it has complete access to tweets and is not limited in the amount that can be retrieved unlike the Search and Stream APIs. See more about Twitter APIs here which explains why the difference matters.
The problem often faced by those in the security industry is monitoring social media, online press and blogs in a high risk fast moving environment without being overwhelmed by huge quantities of data.
As Twitter is a news sharing and dissemination platform via Twitter using Visibrain it is possible to monitor a number of social media platforms such as Facebook, and YouTube among others as these are often parsed through Twitter. For example, using data derived from Twitter I was able to identify a blogger who was tweeting and blogging pro raw-milk material which contradicted the advice provided by the Foods Standards Agency.
Visibrain would allow an organisation to monitor social media for queries specified by an end user, and if these are triggered an almost instant notification would be delivered. For example, if a bank wanted to monitor mentions of a hacking group and the bank using Visibrain this would be possible.
Additionally, if a local or national authority wanted to monitor mentions of a region or city for keywords such as ‘name of city’ + ‘riots’, or any other threat, Visibrain would sent out an alert almost immediately. Major news stories are often reported on Twitter by citizens and/or journalists before reaching the mainstream media.
Moreover, for those wanting reports produced and delivered almost instantly displaying tweet content, actors, URLS, and so forth, it is possible to receive these alerts via email to almost any location in the world. Below is a screenshot displaying how simple it is to create a report, and the wide range of metrics it is possible to monitor.
Here is an example of a client who wishes to receive updates on the Chilcot report, especially alerts when the expressions i.e., tweet content begins to mention Tony Blair, when they are away from their desk:
Designed with the cyber security and intelligence services in mind, Visibrain is a robust service with a range of clients such as:
I’d also recommend checking out some of my previous articles on Visibrain, here, here, and here. Interested in finding out more? Or have a specific question, please don’t hesitate to get in touch (@was3210).