How a blog post I wrote took me to Split, Croatia (Part 2)

This blog post continues on from part 1 of this 2 part series and looks at my short time in Split, Croatia.

I arrived a day before the conference so I had some time to explore the absolutely  wonderful  city of Split. Just as we were walking around we could see some beautiful views:

amazing views

I was able to work on my workshop by the coast:


I noticed that on display by the coast of Split there were many Olympic medalists:

Gold medalists.png

We headed to De Belly, a beautiful restaurant in the heart of Split and were able to get our hands on some fantastic dessert. I’d highly recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting central Split.


After that, it was back to the hotel to work on my workshop, so that was my first day in Split!

Overall I really enjoyed my time in Croatia, and I hope to visit again soon. The people are very friendly, and unlike some holiday destinations, you are not hassled by locals to purchase anything.




How a blog post I wrote took me to Split, Croatia (Part 1)

On July 7th, 2015 the Information School ran the iFutures conference (I severed on the committee and operated the social media strategy). I met Sergej Lugovic, from Zagreb University Of Applied Sciences, Croatia at this conference.

I had submitted a blog post for the LSE impact blog and was unsure whether it would be published, Sergej assured me that they would like the post. Three days after the conference on July 10th 2015 the article was published. I kept in touch with Sergej, and he had seen how well my blog post had done receiving thousands of hits and shares.

In June 14-18, 2016 as part of the Contemporary Issues in Economy and Technology (CIET) Sergej was able to organise a workshop that I would deliver on Twitter analytics. Below is an image of me and Sergej shortly before the workshop:


The workshop marked the first collaboration, in history, between Zagreb University of Applied Sciences, the University of Split, the Information School, University of Sheffield, and one of the largest food company in the world measured by revenues, and ranked within the top 100 on the Fortune Global 500 in 2014.

All thanks to Sergej’s hard work.

I would also like to thank the hard work of Dr Boze Plazibat in organising the conference. And for providing a tour of the Department of Professional Studies which hosts state of the art facilities.  I was truly impressed by the department. Below is an image of me with Dr Boze Plazibat, CIET 2016 conference organizer:


Split is a beautiful city and as I arrived a day earlier and left and day later I had the pleasure to do some sight-seeing, and speak to locals. This will be covered in part 2 of the blog post.

New article published today on the Data Driven Journalism Resource

Today I published a co-authored article on the Data Driven Journalism, titled The EU Referendum debate on Twitter: Who is winning on Twitter – vote leave or vote remain? you can read it here.


The EU referendum debate on Twitter

For non-UK readers, the EU referendum is to take place on the on Thursday 23rd June 2016 and  the UK will vote either to remain in or leave the European Union. 

There is much buzz around social media and the referendum and I thought I’d delve into some analysis. However, as an academic looking at this critically, and as having published several papers using Twitter data. I have to state that:

  1. Twitter is a highly non-uniform sample of the population. Not everyone in the UK uses the Internet, and of those that do use the Internet only a sample of those use Twitter.
  2. Twitter also allows members of the public to hold more than one Twitter account, so in theory one user could set up several accounts to post about vote leave or vote remain.
  3. There is also the issue of bots, which are Twitter accounts which tweet in large volumes automatically or look to mimic real users.

With such caveats in place let’s look at some recent analysis produced by using different analytic programs.

Using hashtagify  I located the most frequently used hashtags associated with #EUref. I then used the quick trends explorer offered by Visibrain Focus  to compare the frequency of the VoteRemain and VoteLeave hashtags.

Below is a time series graph of the hashtags  VoteRemain and VoteLeave 

vote reman vs vote leave.png

There are over 900 thousand tweets that contain VoteLeave in comparison to VoteRemain within the last 30 days.This suggests that the VoteLeave campaign is more active on Twitter.

Here is a more complicated graph with a number of hashtags compared against each other such as StrongerIn, Brexit, VoteRemain, VoteLeave:

more time series.png

As the graph above demonstrates, Brexit has been used in over three million instances within the previous month. However, many news articles and general media coverage use this term (see G2 in the NodeXL graph below). Therefore, it is difficult to attach the Brexit  hashtag solely to those whom wish to vote to leave the EU.

Now lets take a look at the data using @NodeXL  which can produce network graphs alongside comprehensive reports which are uploaded to the NodeXL graph gallery.

Using data which was already published by NodeXL, I then examined the EURef hashtag which  is impartial as opposed to VoteLeave or VoteRemain:

The network graph below displays 6,259 Twitter users whose recent tweets contained “EURef”, or who were replied to or mentioned in those tweets over the 3-hour, 46-minute period from Friday, 10 June 2016 at 12:58 UTC to Friday, 10 June 2016 at 16:44 UTC.


The network graph is made up of several groups of Twitter users. Notable highlights of the report are that:

Group 1 (top left)  contains the following most frequently used hashtags:
[8009] euref
[1888] brexit
[1122] bftownhall
[859] voteleave
[360] itveuref
[350] voteremain
[342] strongerin
[330] remain
[302] leave
[288] bbcqt

Group 1 contains Hashtags and URLs which point to the vote to remain and leave campaign, this suggests it may be a polarised group (see Smith, Rainie, Shneiderman, & Himelboim, 2014).

In Group 2 is interesting to observe an isolates group which shows that a number of users which are not connected to each other are tweeting using the hashtag. For instance, they may be tweeting media stores. This is one possibility for why the Brexit term is used so frequently.

There are a range of different domains that are being used within this campaign including Facebook, the Guardian, and YouTube , full list below:

The full report NodeXL report including top influencers, top URLs, top domains, hashtags, keywords, word pairs, and replied to can be found within an interactive version of the graph. This was produced by Marc Smith who resides in Belmont, CA, USA.

I’d also like to mention the ongoing work by colleagues:

Any questions? Feel free to drop me a message (@was3210).

Disclaimer: At no time was any personally identifiable data and/or information physically stored and/or analysed by-myself and/or using any of my own equipment. The post draws on the various analyses conducted by others.

What does @paulmasonnews look like on Twitter?

Grateful for a recent favor from Paul Mason, (writer, broadcaster, film-maker, and recent author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future) I thought I’d report findings on his Twitter network graph. Thanks goes to my Connected Action Partner Marc Smith for generating the graph.

The graph below is of 2,416 tweets that contained ‘paulmasonnews’ taken from a 9 day period starting Tue May 24th and ending Thurs 02 June, 2016 (the graph gallery version of the graph can be found here)
paulmasonnews Twitter NodeXL SNA Map and Report for Thursday, 02 June 2016 at 18:06 UTC

The network graph is made up of several groups of Twitter users. Group 1 displays the Twitter audience of Paul Mason, which is known as a Broadcast Network which contain an audience of people who are linked only to Mason’s account (see Smith, Rainie, Shneiderman, & Himelboim, 2014).

I’m always interested in seeing the most frequently shared URLs in a graph and the top 5 most shared related to Mason consist of:

  1. Spanish article by Juan Carlos Monedero which analyses Mason’s new book Postcapitalism
  2. Mason’s own article for the Guardian on How to make James Bond relevant – make him battle Trump and the oligarchs
  3. A tweet by Mason related to Corbyn and Labour
  4. A link to a spanish live-stream titled Ciudades Democráticas (Democratic cities)
  5. A tweet by Mason on  Uberisation and Europe

The report shows there is much discussion surrounding Mason’s recently released book Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future.

The following are notable highlights:

  • The most frequently shared URL is based on this book.
  • Moreover, the keyword postcapitalism appears in the URLs of G2, G3, G7,
  • Postcapitalism it is the third most frequently used hashtag overall and the hashtag makes an appearance in G1, G2, G3, G6, G8
  • it appears in G6, G8 as among the top keywords
  • In G8 the top word pairs include:
    • [29] postcapitalism,paulmasonnews
      [28] penguinukbooks,paperback
      [28] paperback,postcapitalism
      [28] paulmasonnews,published
      [28] published,today

I could delve into many further aspects of the graph, but I’d like to point you to the NodeXL graph gallery which contains a comprehensive overview of the analytics overall, and by group level.

Disclaimer: At no time was any personally identifiable data and/or information physically stored and/or analysed by-myself and/or using any of my own equipment. The post draws on the various analyses conducted by others.

Tips for a Professional Social Media Profile

I’m always asked for tips and tricks form academics or those from industry starting out on Twitter and other social media platforms. So I thought I’d collate my responses into 5 points.

I draw on principles covered in the Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users which is a really good read for anyone thinking of building a profile on social media. In no particular order here are 5 tips:

  • Pick a relevant screen name and/or Twitter user handle. I would suggest using your name and including it as your ‘@’ handle e.g., @JohnSmith.
  • The overall look of your profile is very important as the users visiting will make a snap judgement with the information you provide, and the image that you portray. I’d say scrap the long paragraphs and communicate key points.
  • You need a good profile picture, it has to look professional, and it has to be of your face. Stay away from poor quality pictures and if necessary hire a professional to take a picture. Make the picture the brand and use the same picture across social media platforms.
  • If possible, have a blog and/or website unique to yourself that you list across your social media platforms. Produce content relevant to your discipline that can be shared and linked back to you.Examine what is in the media and see if you can draw a link from the work in your discipline either for a tweet or a blog post.
  • Follow users within your discipline, and remember to engage with other Twitter users rather than solely post your own content. If you like, retweet, or share another users post then they are likely to reciprocate.
  • Produce regular content and produce a content sharing plan. Alternatively, you can use a social media managing platform such as Hootsuite or Buffer. When considering what to share remember that visual posts gain more engagement, and tweets with hashtags will attract a larger number of views and impressions. The time of sharing a post will affect how many impressions and engagements it will gain, so don’t be afraid of sharing similar content throughout the day. Below is a useful table adapted from the Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users:

Table 1 – Recommended number of posts per social media platform

Casual users
  Hard core users

These tricks will certainly increase engagement on your social media accounts.

One of my clients Gary Spence, Managing Director of Hybrid Supply Chain Ltd, was able to increase his social media statistics significantly within a matter of weeks by following this methodology:

Figure 1 – Increases in Gary’s social media statistics within 1 month


Do you want help running a professional social media account? Drop me a message for a quote!


Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users


Many thanks to Andrew Latchford, from the VP Group Ltd, for inspiring this post.

Echosec: Location-Based Social Media Search – Potential For Academic Research And Industry

Echosec, simply put, allows you to navigate to almost any location in the world and examine the social media activity around that vicinity.  Currently Echosec Pro allows users to access at least the following social data feeds:

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Foursquare
  • Panoramio
  • AIS Shipping
  • Sina Weibo
  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • VK

The Echosec platform provides enormous research potential as it is possible to select a specific geographical area and examine the social media activity around it.


Echosec Dashboard Layout

Users can plot a rectangle, circle, or plot a custom shape almost anywhere in the world to display the social media activity around that area. Users can also use advance date filtering features to ensure only relevant posts are displayed.

Echnosec also has great potential in regards to business intelligence as it is possible to monitor chatter around a specific area. For instance, finding out that social media users in a particular area are complaining about the lack of particular store or product e.g., a coffee shop.

One of the biggest advantages of Echosec are that it is not based on a specific social media platform; it allows users to aggregate data from several popular social media networks.

In addition to location-based searching, it is also possible to search via keywords and examine where posts derive from. For instance, to find out whether users in certain geographical regions are mentioning a trending hashtag.

Echosec works by making use of location-based metadata to search for social media and other open source information. It relies mostly on a range of API requests directly to the social media networks (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook etc), but also to third party information repositories.

Echosec is used by those within the Public Safety and Intelligence sector, the Corporate Security & Investigations sector, and within the Media and Journalism sector.

Used ethically and within the right hands, Echosec has great potential for public good. I also see it to have excellent potential for academic research projects.

Compared to some of the other social media analytics software out there, Echosec Pro is extremely affordable at only $89 per month annually. It’s definitely worth checking out. You can access the free version of Echosec here.

Disclaimer: No data was retrieved and/or analysed in the writing of this blog post.

Amplified messages: How hashtag activism and Twitter diplomacy converged at #ThisIsACoup – and won.

Check out my latest blog post for the LSE Impact blog:

Nice Graphic.png

Online activism is a frequently debated topic amongst journalists and researchers alike. What effect can a popular Twitter hashtag really have in achieving political or social change? Wasim Ahmed looks in depth at last year’s heavily tweeted #ThisIsACoup hashtag. While concrete outcomes may still be indeterminate, it is clear social media is now a rich space for activism, expressions of solidarity and information sharing.

It has received mainstream media attention, and is among the most read blog post this week. It was recently mentioned on the Information School’s blog. 

You can read it in full here.

My 2015 year in review for blogging

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,300 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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