Nexalogy's Claude Théoret speaks at StartupGrind. Photo by Heri Rakotomalala, MTL NewTech

Nexalogy CEO Claude Théoret said his transition from a physicist to entrepreneur means he’s gone from dealing with “colossal amounts of astronomical data to processing an astronomical amount of social data.”

Théoret, a PhD. and founding member of McGill University’s astronomy department, was the speaker at last night’s Startup Grind event. He talked about his experience as an entrepreneur, the Montreal startup ecosystem, and what made him move from analyzing black holes to analyzing social media.

Part of the inspiration for his career shift was the realization that the analysis he would do for scientific papers could be done for blog posts.

“I realized that a blog is the same thing as a scientific paper,” he said. “All the scientific people said you’re full of it, but mathematically it’s the same thing. You have an author. You have an abstract. You have a date. You have a physical address because for a blog you have a link. And you have the paper it’s published in, which is the name of the blog.”

That’s what made him apply the algorithms he used to analyze scientific papers — and astronomical data — to blogs. The result was an initial tool to identify topics, networks and insights based on what bloggers were writing, and how they were connected to each other. He coded the first version himself.

“Two years later Twitter came around and we added it in,” Théoret said. “When each new social media platform emerged, we added it in.”

Today, he said, social media analytics is projected by Gartner to grow by over 3,000 percent in the next five years. Théoret saw the potential and importance of social content and data early on.

“I wanted to apply it to something where there was more data than just with academic papers,” he said. “People said Twitter was a waste of time and the same about Facebook. But I saw it was all going to explode.”

Montreal as a place for startups

Théoret also made the case that Montreal is a great place for startups.

“I’m very gung ho on the Montreal ecosystem,” he said.

Back in 2006, when Nexalogy was getting started, there were only two VCs in the city. Now there are many more, plus accelerator programs such as FounderFuel. The startups taking hold in the city are better than ever, he said. He also cited increased VC investment in Quebec companies.

Théoret said it’s impossible to compare Montreal or any other city to what’s been established in silicon valley.

“Silicon valley is like the pyramids,” he said. “We’re going to be talking about it forever. It’s something in world history that’s never going to be replicated.”

Echoing his recent talk at FailCampMTL, Théoret said that failure is a part of success.

“From being a physicist and entrepreneur I’ve learned that the real key to success is to go from failure to failure with enthusiasm,” he said.

What drives Théoret?

“I want to prove that we can do a Montreal startup that does big data,” he said.


Nexalogy offers two free ways for you to analyze the concepts, tweets, hashtags, links and people driving the conversation:

1. Our HootSuite app is consistently one of the most popular free apps in the HootSuite App Store. The NexaMe stream in the app offers a visual way to gain insights about the topics and people in your Twitter timeline. The Nexalogy Search stream enables you to dig deeper into a hashtag or search term.

2. If you’re not a HootSuite user, we offer free access to the NexaMe app at Login in with your Twitter account and you instantly see data about your timeline.

We’re thrilled that so many marketers, researchers, consultants, journalists and others using it every day.

Below are five tips to help you get the most out of NexaMe and our Nexalogy Hootsuite app. If you’re already using them, we’d love to get your feedback, so feel free to get in touch.

1. Understand The Obvious, The Potentials, and The Long Shots

A look at results from, the Obvious, The Potentials and the Long Shots highlighted in red.

The NexaMe app by default shows you an interest map that visualizes the concepts being discussed. (The same is true for the Nexalogy Search streams in the HootSuite app.)

Each concept is displayed in a size relative to it’s importance in the conversation, and the map also shows you the relationship between each concept. These points of connection show how different concepts are related, based on the conversations taking place.

The best way to dig deeper into the concepts is to examine the three categories the app automatically places them in:

  • The Obvious are the big concepts getting the most discussion. When applied to your timeline in NexaMe, they show what your network is talking about most. In Nexalogy Search, The Obvious represent what’s known about the hastag/word in question.

  • The Potentials are concepts that are not yet as big as The Obvious. They have enough momentum that they could begin to set the agenda. In short, they have potential to blow up.

  • The Long Shots are just surfacing, and have only garnered brief mentions in the period analyzed. They may grow, or go nowhere. These could be the early signals worth paying more attention to.

You can click on the category buttons to show or hide the relevant concepts. This gives you an easier way to investigate the concepts. Here’s where the buttons are located in the HootSuite app (hover over the red dots for more information):

Now you’re ready to go to the next level and examine the tweets behind each concept.

2. Know your nodes

Each concept can provide you with interesting additional data. If you see a specific concept of interest, click on it.

This highlights that concept and any connected to it. You can now click the View Tweets button to see all the tweets related to that cluster. (Click the red dots below for more information.)

This is a great way to dig into the Potentials and The Long Shots to see what you might be missing. (You can zoom in and out of the interest map by rolling your mouse wheel, and you can move the map around by clicking and dragging.)

Note that you can select multiple nodes at the same time, but if you do this the app will only show tweets that include all of the relevant terms. So unless you’re looking to combine clusters of concepts, be sure to unselect a concept before you move to the next one.

3. Follow the links

Some of the most useful information is contained in the Analysis tab of the HootSuite app. Among other data, it shows the concepts and hashtags that are most of interest in your timeline or search.

You can also click anywhere on the timeline graph at the top to see the tweets for that specific moment in time. (This information is all displayed right on the main page of your NexaMe results if you use

One of the most useful data points is the list of the most frequently tweeted links. This enables you to connect content from else where with what people are talking about. At the very least, it’s a great way to learn more about concepts being discussed, and to discover links that you may also want to share.

Here’s an example from the HootSuite app ( displays all of the links and other information on one page):

4. Connect people with the concepts

With the concepts identified, you can now relate them to the people who matter most. View the Suggested Connections to identify and follow new and emerging influencers on a given topic, or in your extended network. You can also see the most active, engaged and retweeted people users as well.

This puts the influencers right in front of you, offering you a list of people to follow and connect with.

To access these features in the HootSuite App, just click on the Connections button in the NexaMe of Nexalogy Search streams. Then use the drop down menu to select which user group you want to view. Here’s how:

5. Refresh often to stay on top of trends

Each time you open the Nexalogy tab in Hootsuite, or go to, we pull in fresh data. Nexalogy delivers the most recent 1,500 tweets, or results from the past 7 days, whichever comes first.

This means that you should access the app or website at regular intervals in order to see new results and concepts. This increases the chances that you catch a Long Shot or Potential early on. It also ensures you can track the people and links that matter most.

If you want a more detailed search over a longer period, and with unlimited results, we can help you with that. Get in touch and we’ll make it happen.

This paper was originally due to appear much earlier, but was just recently published by the graduate journal STREAM at SFU.
To download the full article click here.

Early research into Terrorism and News Media coverage showed in the 1990s the importance of terms like “guerrilla” to the inevitable link between Terrorist activities and news coverage of those activities. By the turn of the century content analysis was used to examine major news frames in Terrorism reporting in Newspapers and on Television.

However two major developments happened soon after that would greatly affect the environment within which the Framing of Terrorism takes place in media. The first of these was the creation of the Internet, online news, and eventually social media. The second event were the Terrorist attacks of 9-11 in 2001.

The research paper below uses early versions of network mapping and content analysis software in order to examine Terrorism news online comparatively between the George W. Bush administration of 2005 and Barack H. Obama’s first term in the White House in 2009.

The research shows that since 9-11 and the rise of digital media the term ‘insurgent’ came to predominate as a frame for Terrorist activities, particularly during the Bush Jr. administration. The term ‘extremist’ also grew in importance, and groups such as the Animal Liberation Front were more harshly framed as Terrorists under the Bush Jr. administration than either before the rise of digital media or during Obama’s first term.

In terms of social media networks, another interesting finding is that the Obama administration’s presence online had more direct connections to Peace and Activist Networks than the Bush Jr. White House did several years earlier.

click- through to zoom in

Overall, while central frames of Iraq stayed surprisingly consistent over time, the early days of the Obama administration showed a more direct involvement of the Executive in online news than the late days of the Bush Jr. admin, and the rise of blogs and blogger networks over time allowed for more alternative frames and interpretations of Terrorism, as was predicted by earlier research in the field.

The research carried out with the early methods presented in this paper shows that the clash of civilization hypothesis, so strongly adhered to by the Bush Jr. administration, is challenged to some extent by the rise of social media and the implication of major institutions in global online Peace Networks. While there is a long way to go before an alternate paradigm such as the dignity of difference takes root, there are more opportunities for such diversity offered through the digital environment than was the case in the past.

To read the abstract click here.

And to download the full article click here.

Tips on planning your Social Media study.

People often ask us how we make sense of all the data we have at our disposal. Though you don’t have to be a mathematician or even a data scientist to use our software, you can still benefit from a little advice from one of the greats. Pythagoraus was on to something when he said “The beginning is half of the whole”.

We agree. Preparation is key to success and particularly a successful social media study. Here on the Nexalogy Services Team, we put in some serious background work before we get down to the fun stuff. In fact, a considerable amount of “people” work needs to be done long before we even touch the software.

A social media study is only as good as the data you pull. So before you come up with complex Boolean searches, do what we do and take the time necessary to carefully plan your study. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Look at the big picture. Why are you doing this study? What are you looking to find? Are you looking for breaking news, to monitor a campaign, to generate leads, etc…?Have a clear picture in mind of what the overall objective of your social media research is before you start.

Take stock. Is your company/brand currently using social media tools or tactics in any way? What internal web properties  (e.g. a website,, social media account, blog, etc) may be relevant to your project?

Don’t dive in too early, Take the time to research your topic. Are there any influential sites that are creating content related to your objectives? Are their any key thinkers in the area?

Be aware of your surroundings. Social media platforms speak to different audiences. For example, Twitter skews female and though Facebook still appeals to younger users, this is starting to change. Who you are getting your information from is an important factor to consider.

It’s not all about you! Make a list of important keywords. There are many kinds of keywords to consider, ranging from company names, products/brands, issues, and competitors…. YOU are the professional and if you have done some research on your topic, you will probably come up with a list of relevant keywords pretty easily, but its not all about you! Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. While a list of “correct” keywords is important, it’s also important to note how the public at large is speaking about your topic. You will want to put slang and commonly used terminology on your list, with the goal of maximizing the veracity of your data.

A final piece of advice. Take a bit of time to review your Boolean logic. Maybe it’s the librarian in me but if you’ve been to any of my training sessions you’ll know the emphasis I put on Boolean logic. It looks easy but can bee quite deceiving. For example, a misplaced “not” can result in lots of lost data. Think twice!

Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to creating better studies.

La semaine dernière, Nexalogie était invité à participer à un « Webinaire Start-Up » en compagnie de deux autres entreprises en
démarrage montréalaises.

Webinaire 11 décembre 2013 archinfo

Le webinaire faisait partie d’un MOOC (Massive open online course) ayant pour thème l’économie du web, présenté par l’ENS de Lyon, l’Université de Montréal et l’ENSSIB. Il s’agit là d’un thème fort intéressant et quelque chose que je considère comme pertinent à mon expérience.

Martin Lessard, expert des nouveaux médias qui a publié plusieurs livres sur le sujet, animait la séance.

Les deux autres entreprises présentes étaient TRANSITAPP, qui offre une application mobile « qui permet d’accéder facilement aux horaires et itinéraires de transport en commun » et SNOOBE, qui est « un service de comparaison de forfait de téléphone mobile (comme Expédia l’est pour le voyage) ». Les deux services fonctionnent parfaitement sur les appareils mobiles et répondent à de vrais besoins dans la marche « actuels ». Nexalogie était invité comme entreprise spécialisée dans l’analyse de textes non-structurés, en particulier via les médias sociaux utilisés en tant que données ouvertes et massives.

Thierry Marechal de Snoobe, Sam Vermette de Transitapp et moi, Zachary Devereaux de Nexalogie Environics, avons discuté de notre expérience de la vie de « start-up », particulièrement à Montréal; nous constatons une croissance dans le domaine du traitement des données ouvertes depuis les cinq dernières années.

Nous avons abordé les différentes manières utilisées par Nexalogie et les autres entreprises pour enrichir les données numériques ouvertes et leur donner une valeur ajoutée, discuté de Montréal comme pôle de développement d’affaires techno (ainsi que les liens tissés avec Toronto, San Francisco et New York); nous avons également traité de l’avenir des données ouvertes ici au Québec et ailleurs dans les « villes intelligentes ».

Vous pouvez visionner la vidéo du webinaire dans son entièreté ici, incluant les excellentes questions des étudiants de cycle supérieur et les commentaires spirituel de Martin. Les commentaires de Sam, Thierry et moi-même, appuyés par nos expériences respectives, ont servi à la fois d’introduction à nos entreprises et à mon avis comme matériel bien utile aux étudiants.

Thierry a utilisé une métaphore très inspirante en affirmant que « les données ouvertes sont comme les produits chimiques; séparés ils sont inoffensifs mais en combinaison ils peuvent être explosifs ». C’est sur que avec les services et la technologie de Nexalogie on peux mieux comprendre et idéalement éviter les explosions négatif sur les médias sociaux - et profiter des combinaisons bénéfice de ces éléments avec la raffinement de “big data.”

Voici un exemple de Nexalogie en action, avec un rapport NexaLive sur le mot-clefs du MOOC qui montre les enjeux principaux, les éditeurs-clefs et les mots-clefs liés aux séances, en guise de petit merci pour l’invitation au webinaire et à la diffusion de la vidéo :

Application Programming Interfaces used to be terminology that was reserved strictly for developers. Now APIs are sold online in API stores as commonly as apps in the Apple store.  In fact, companies that market APIs like Mashery and Layer7 have recently been bought by tech giants such as Intel and CA Technologies, because of the exponential growth in the industry. Twilio, a company who allows software developers to programmatically make and receive phone calls and send and receive text messages using its web service APIs, has been wildly successful. They recently raised $70 million in D series financing. Programmers use APIs to speed up the development of their applications to plug and play, offering functionality that would otherwise be too difficult or time consuming to develop on their own. Why develop from scratch when someone else has already developed and perfected the code?  The value-add is that developers can concentrate on making compelling and beautiful applications.

Nexalogy’s technology is renowned for its ability to take vast amounts of unstructured data and through a proprietary semantic clustering algorithm, clean, filter and synthesize in real time to reveal the most relevant insights. This tech is based on actor network theory and statistical analysis derived from astrophysics. This complex programming is used to identify the main concepts in huge online conversations, to predict or track events and to identify whom the most important publishers or influencers are based on geography, demographics or klout scores..the possibilities are endless.

Here are some examples of what companies and individuals have built using the NxAPI to deliver value.

John Frieda International Hair Products wanted to launch their new line of hair products through an innovative real time online campaign by showing where certain hairstyles and hair colors were trending around the globe.

They challenged the public to tweet their favorite styles and colors and using NxAPI, captured the tweets and plotted them on an interactive map of the world, in real time. At any time you can see which hairstyles are trending in your city and were to buy the products that will help you achieve the chosen look. The application was completely designed by Cossette, John Frieda’s ad agency and seamlessly built using JSON calls to NxAPI. To see the Hair Tracker click here.

Next up is an interactive dashboard to track the discussion in real time at a 3 day live event, the International Startup Festival in Montreal. This dynamic board was projected behind the bar at the festival and was updated every 5 minutes to capture all the tweets that included the festival’s hashtag. Attendees could come by and understand the discussions around certain speakers, and about the festival itself, as well as the topics that were covered, the sentiment, the most retweeted handles and the lexical graph. The logo and colors of the festival were used, and attractive visuals were used from a D3 library.

This was created in a day as opposed to weeks and offered attractive and informative visuals to unite the conference attendees and to promote networking based on shared interests. To see the Startup Festival Board click here.
The third example of NxAPI in action is  Artv who uses social media as content on their website in relation to one of their most popular TV shows. The fans of C’est Juste la TV can follow the conversation after each episode with the interactive widgets. This keeps fans on the site longer and improves website SEO by having dynamic content. To see Artv`s integration click here.

As social media matures, social data cannot reside uniquely in monitoring tools, instead it must be integrated into the workflow of organizations and become part of their databases and used for marketing, sales, projections, strategy and engagement.

Stay tuned for more exciting apps that we will be featuring and any upcoming hackathons that you can participate in using our API.  NxAPI plays nicely with others so mashem up and see what you can create. Come to our gallery to get inspired by our creations. Sign up today to onboard and take advantages of 2.5M free API calls by clicking here.

Happy creating!


Marina Yaburova, Fall intern 2013:

Once, I came across the following statement: “As people live, they leave behind digital crumbs”. Until the beginning of my internship I was not able to fully understand the idea behind this statement. My internship  at Nexalogy has broadened my horizons and introduced me to a wide variety of content that people share through social media platforms. As a social-media analyst, I am responsible for analyzing Twitter conversations, Facebook and blog content on particular topics, and presenting analysis to decision-makers. This involves collecting data by means of web-analytics tools such as Nexamaster, Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, cleaning data and identifying patterns within the data; and communicating the findings in an actionable way. I now know a lot about digital crumbs.

The company provides a learning environment and encourages me to stay up-to-date with current social media trends. At the beginning of my internship, I received full training from colleagues. Further on, I was encouraged to attend several webinars related to social media marketing research. In addition, Nexalogy welcomes innovations and is open to ideas that help it improve. I find this very motivating, as I feel that my contributions to the company are well received.

Having been at Nexalogy for 71 days, I could say that it has been a steep learning curve. My experience has been meaningful as I have not only picked up on important skills, but I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about how social media research companies function.

Joseph Martorana, Fall Intern 2013:

At Nexalogy, the working environment is open and honest; teamwork, communication, and flexibility are recognized as key factors for success.  To make sure that I fulfill both my personal and professional goals, Nexalogy offers me the right combination of challenges, varied learning and development opportunities, and an exciting and inclusive environment to develop my career and myself. I am involved in administrative and marketing tasks which include: managing expense reports, preparing the month end and payroll as well as creating projects using Nexamaster and pitching the platform to potential clients. When I first started my internship at Nexalogy, they sent me to a conference to learn new ways of implementing and incorporating certain softwares into our logistics. I not only got to learn new technical skills, but had the opportunity to meet professionals from different industries as well.

Nexalogy respects the work-life balance of its employees and does its best to provide support, specifically tailored, to each individual. Studying while working full-time is no easy task, but Nexalogy makes it as easy as possible by giving me time off to study before exams or to meet for school-related group projects.

To help its staff handle their responsibilities, Nexalogy creates a good atmosphere both in and outside the office. Whether it’s a spontaneous pizza party or a night of social networking; Nexalogy has a variety of events and projects that bring the staff together to become a team.

Forrester research recently published a report that took Facebook to task as ‘failing social media marketers,’ basically arguing that Facebook is ‘too good to be true’ a good overview is here.

These negative claims have been critiqued, for example quite strongly by Forbes who argued that the Forrester sample is simply too small to make such sweeping claims, and that Forrester “got it wrong” (thanks to Mark Goren for this link). 

As a result of all of this buzz I took some time to set up a Nexalive that captures ‘Discussions on Twitter about Social Media research projects by major companies.’

The query to capture the relevant data is: (Social Media AND (Forrester OR Altimeter OR Nielsen OR Ipsos OR Brainjuicer OR ”TNS Global” OR ”Vision Critical” OR Synovate OR ”Anderson Analytics” OR ”Itracks” OR ”Peanut Labs”))

The results are quite interesting and update automatically, you can see for yourself here:


Many news outlets have commented on the Forrester report, speculating about Facebook’s stock value, how Facebook campaigns work to build brand awareness and how analytics are important for focusing and directing social media marketing efforts. This was the case with Newsreach in the UK, one of the top shared links, here.

Another of the top shared links has few views on YouTube but is a good example of an old-school reaction to the Forrester piece in a new-school format. This is when a daily industry-focused vlogger gives a short overview of Forrester’s ‘pile-driver’ to Facebook, and its more positive evaluation of Twitter. The clip also contains an interview with Decision Analyst CEO Jerry Thomas who argues against social media as “free” and in favour of advertising testing. You can check out the six minute clip here.

Also among the top links is another study, this one by convincing social media guru Brian Solis and Charlene Li at Altimeter Group which is very interesting both as an indirect response to the Forrester piece and as a general snapshot of the maturation of social business in 2013, which you can find here.

On the day of writing, Forrester and Neilsen rank highest amongst the companies mentioned in Top Concepts. And Forrester is the Most Engaged Twitter handle (followed by Synthesio). Forrester is also the Most Retweeted followed by Brian Solis, and #forrforum is the Top Hashtag. This shows that Forrester is riding their own buzz, the point of their original critique according to some, but one not necessarily founded on solid social media analytics.

Top Concepts:

Top Hashtags:

It remains to be seen what the longterm impact of these debates will be on Facebook. However, in the research carried out at Nexalogy Environics we certainly see that brands can connect with and grow their fan and customer base through social media marketing on Facebook and ideally other platforms as well in a concerted social media marketing effort. Taking that effort seriously and evaluating it with a rigorous analytical approach towards social media over time constitutes a full spectrum approach. As social media marketing and analytics mature for many brands it is worth the effort, enabling them to know what social content works best and build valuable social engagement with their audience.

There are several different ways to look at a publisher’s influence across the social web. With sources including Klout, Kred, TweetLevel and others, though, we have to rely on a score that is not all that well defined, as these services look to assign a score to people based on the tool’s own secret sauce. To best apply these tools, it’s better to use them to compare the numbers against one another, so content creators and outreach managers can look for commonalities and trends within these scores. They should not be, however, used individually as the final assessment of a particular publisher.

To gauge influence, Nexalogy believes in a different approach. We believe in social references. The number of times someone is referenced is indicative of the person’s social pull and validates an individual as a content generator, curator or community builder. The opposite is true as well, as a low number of references refutes this notion. The time period is important too, as influence lives in a constant state of flux relative to the precise moment in time that it is being evaluated. People who are most often referenced today may not be tomorrow.

The two easiest areas from which to collect references are from the blogosphere and Twitter. As data access evolves, we’re hoping to gain a clearer view of this from Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and other networks. Right now, however, extracting references from these networks is a more difficult process.

Below, we describe how we go about finding the number of references related to a group of publishers, first within the blogosphere and then on Twitter.

Assessing Bloggers

Nexalogy uses its co-link discovery tool to determine the number of times someone has been referenced in the blogosphere. We do this by taking a seed set of blogs or websites, usually five or ten initial blogs supplied by the client or previously discovered, which we refer to as a specific “neighbourhood”. We then crawl the entire depth of these sites, collecting all outgoing links. The crawler then follows all of these links and repeats the process for the newly discovered pages.

After two or more iterations of this process, the tool compares all of the links collected to one another and generates an executive list of the most influential blogs and sites. This process discovers blogs and sites of interest that are related to the seed set, and also gives a metric of influence based on co-link density. The metric is equal to the number of times a blogger has been linked to within three degrees of separation. Bloggers are then ranked in descending order of importance, delivering a metric related to their influence within this “network neighbourhood”.

It’s important to note that even adding a single URL to the original seed list can have a great impact on the outcome. This is why we encourage our clients to group publishers by topic of interest – as it would be difficult to compare automotive bloggers to eco-friendly bloggers, for example. This is also why we encourage our clients to provide a final list of the bloggers to be evaluated prior to executing the crawl.


Using Twitter as a base, this calculation is pretty straight forward, as we run a search on a batch of Twitter handles without the “@” symbol before the handle. This allows us to do two things. First, we can determine how many times publishers are referenced within a defined time period, usually 90-days. In other words, we can see who’s being addressed on Twitter, a reflection of references, retweets and modified tweets. The more someone is referenced, the more influence that person holds, as it’s clear that they’re being sought after or repeated in conversations.

The second approach is to count how many times individuals are publishing content to Twitter. Though this is not a reference, it’s reflective of a person’s attempt to influence the conversation. Prolific publishers desire building their network and gaining attention. Counting how many times they post to Twitter provides a hint of their attempt to influence others.

Presenting Final Rankings

Once all these metrics are compiled, we look at each publisher and evaluate based on all metrics. In fact, we’ll even include the influence scores mentioned off the top of this post, which allows us to see patterns in the metrics and view how each score relates to others. By looking at all the information, we’ll be in a much better position to provide our client with the most attractive outreach candidates.

We then present the data in one of two ways:

  • An Excel spreadsheet that provides all key metrics, plus more context on the publisher
  • A “profile” presentation, with emphasis on who the person is, using key metrics as support

In some cases, we may provide the client with both, as the Excel sheet provides more flexible for sorting through the numbers, while the profile pages provide insight into who we’re talking to, including a picture where possible.

So that’s how we do it. What are your thoughts on evaluating online influence?