Three ways social data can help the CreativeMornings community continue its breakneck growth

CreativeMornings is a fast growing global community that organizes monthly lectures aimed at the creative community. Each month, volunteer organizers in 99 cities around the world select a local speaker that fits with a common theme. The goal is to ”celebrate a city’s creative talent” and to “promote an open space to connect with like-minded individuals.”

Nexalogy founder and CEO Claude Theoret spoke about black holes at one of the first CreativeMornings meetings in Montreal, and since then we’ve worked with CreativeMornings headquarters in New York to analyze the social media data from close to a year of meetings.

We presented our findings and recommendations at the very first CreativeMornings Summit, which brought together organizers from over 30 countries,.

Below are three key insights we extracted about their community, using the NxLive data analysis platform. We also identified three related opportunities to help their community evolve and grow.

1. Keep Moving From Caveman to Community

Our first look at CreativeMornings (CM) data covered February to the end of April of this year. One interesting thing that jumped out right away was the shape of their network.

We generated an Interaction Map that shows how different entities (in this case individual and CM city accounts on Twitter) are connected to each other within the CreativeMornings community, based on their use of CM hastags.

The first Interaction Map looked like this:

Caveman network

Caveman network


That’s example of what network scientists call a “caveman network.” Each of the clusters shown above represents the mini network of a different CM city. It means that each of the cities is something of a community unto themselves. They’re off in their own “cave” and aren’t connected. The only point of connection is the main CreativeMornings account.

Simply put, in the early part of this year, CreativeMornings was a collection of discreet city networks. It wasn’t one community.

We looked at the Interaction Map again after gathering data from May to September. The change was remarkable:

A community

A community

This is more of a community, rather than a caveman network.

We see that CreativeMornings HQ is still at the center, but the caves for each city have largely been abandoned in favor of a more connected community. It’s remarkable progress.

Now, that’s not to say there isn’t still work to be done…

The Opportunity: Cities can still be much better better connected with each other, and the Summit in New York was a perfect way to forge in-person connections that can result in a closer digital community, and more coordination between chapters. We encouraged chapter organizers to learn from each other, and to figure out ways to cross-promote content and events in cities that are in the same state, province, or nearby country.

2. The CreativeMornings Experience Should Be Deliciously Creative

As part of our work, we  analyzed the top hashtags, the most engaged Twitter accounts, and the top concepts that people spoke about. That data told us which chapters were doing a great job on social media, and on Twitter in particular.

But to understand what makes for a great CreativeMornings experience, we had to dig a deeper and look at the content people were creating and sharing while at the event. What moved them to tweet, to post to Facebook and to Tumblr? And what did they talk about?

Speakers were key. “Speaker” was in fact the third most talked about concept in the data from May to September. That was to be expected, but over and again we saw that one of things that moved people to share and talk about their CM experience was food.

When a chapter did something special with the food and coffee — breakfast tacos, anyone? — it resulted in engagement and appreciation. Food is an important part of the CM experience. We saw this over and again, with tweets and Tumblr posts pouring in when something delicious was on offer.

On that note, here’s a sample of some of the food offerings that attendees deemed photo-worthy:



The Opportunity: Invest in the small things that can create engagement and shareable moments. The overall CM experience is a combination of everything: the speaker, the venue, the food, and even small touches like name tags and other items of surprise and delight. Focusing on the totality of the event changes CM from a lecture series to an experience. This helps grow the online community, and increase the happiness of existing members.

3. Make Time for the Time Between Events

CreativeMornings are a monthly breakfast lecture event. That’s the core of the experience, and we saw it reflected in the overall pattern of discussion on social media. Here’s the Twitter activity graph for the first few months of the year:


The peaks come when cities hold their monthly events.  The valleys are the rest of the time, with small bumps when chapters announce the details of their next event.

We saw a similar pattern from May to September:


There are more peaks during the more recent period because cities are no longer all holding their event on the same Friday of the month. There are multiple Fridays with events.

This data tells us that as of today CreativeMornings is very much an occasion, rather than an ongoing conversation. As a result, a lot of the social conversation has to do with getting tickets, scheduling, locations etc. It peaks and recedes. There is little, if any, talk in between meetings, aside from chapters announcing and promoting the next talks.

The Opportunity: CreativeMornings can build a constant, active community on social media by having a virtual event that continues all month long. the starting point for this is CM’s massive library of video from recent and past talks, as well as photos and other content. It’s a perfect catalyst to help kickstart online engagement. Videos from around the world can be shared from local accounts, sparking discussion and further connecting chapters to each other. Suddenly, the theme truly lasts all month long, and CreativeMornings is more than once a month — it’s all the time.

How SXSW staff monitor social media to track rumors, and identify safety and crowd issues during the festival

The SXSW Music, Interactive and Film festival attracts a sea of people to Austin, Texas every year, and they come armed with smartphones and social media profiles. The result is a massive stream of social media updates that break news and signal important events.

“Sometimes a band won’t make it to the festival, but they’ll tweet about it before they call us or their management,” says Melissa Golding, SXSW’s Digital Content Manager. “A lot of the time, we can verify rumors on social media faster than we can call out into the field.”

But in order to verify rumors, and spot an emerging issue, Golding and her colleagues realized they need better ways to quickly separate the signal from the noise. The volume of tweets, Facebook posts and other social updates makes it hard to extract insights.

Golding and her team turned to Hootsuite and Nexalogy to help SXSW make sense of its social data and conversations — in real-time.

The two companies collaborated and the result was the combination of the Hootsuite social media dashboard with a custom social analytics and conversations dashboard built by Nexalogy.

SXSW teams used Hootsuite to monitor hashtags, filter streams and engage with people. The Nexalogy dashboard (below) visualized the social discussion, and also delivered automated alerts centered on specific categories, such as safety, police and crowd.

The custom monitoring dashboard Nexlaogy built for SXSW

The custom monitoring dashboard Nexlaogy built for SXSW

“We comb through thousands of tweets on any given day,” Golding said. “The visualization Nexalogy provided highlighted things as they happened, which we were then able to set up as searches in Hootsuite to track and archive. Without the visualzation, we wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell if certain words were trending and needed our attention.”

Golding’s digital content team used Hootsuite and Nexalogy dashboards constantly. Staff at the SXSW Communications Centre (seen below) also used the tools to monitor activity.

“The two teams are in constant contact, making changes to our filters or setting up new searches based on information we’re getting from our boots on the ground, social media, press and other entities we work with,” she said.


Inside the SXSW Communications Centre, with the Nexalogy dashboard front and center.

Once the festival was underway, they customized the Nexalogy dashboard and Hootsuite filters to look at specific keywords, hashtags and other items.

“Were able to make some changes on the fly to really fine tune the filters which brought us useful information such as what people were saying around things like lines, crowds, rumors about Rihanna, etc.,” Golding said.

The result was SXSW could quickly spot emerging issues, such as lines that may be starting to get too long, or places where the WiFi needed to be stronger. They then dispatched people based on what they saw happening on social media.

“Nexalogy helped us manage our event in real time by cutting through the noise and letting the things we had filtered for come to the surface where we could easily digest the information,” Golding said.

An analysis of the C2MTL speakers, concepts and quotes that stood out

Even before C2MTL started, Cindy Gallop made her presence felt.

Gallop is the founder of Make Love Not Porn. She’s an engaged and savvy social media user, and a great speaker. All of those reasons, among others, led her to be one of the main stage speakers at C2MTL, a unique and remarkable annual business conference that bills itself as being “somewhere between genius and insanity.”

As the big data partner for the event, Nexalogy gathered and analyzed all of the social media data and conversations taking place on the #C2MTL hashtag.

We used this data to create a dashboard showing key people, concepts and tweets trending, and to provide a daily briefing for media at the event. (Nexalogy CEO and founder Claude Théoret also spoke on the Garage stage.)

Beginning with the day before C2MTL, we saw that Cindy Gallop was a social force to be reckoned with. She began using the hashtag even before departing for the conference:

After landing in Montreal, she tweeted her hotel room, promoted her talk the next day, connected with other participants over drinks. Then, once on site, she connected in real life with people, and interacted with anyone who reached out to her on Twitter. She also fell in love with shoes designed by Montrealer Anastasia Radevich and grabbed a pair to wear on stage for her speech.

That of course resulted in more tweets:


Gallop wasn’t just active — she was interactive.

That stood out when we looked at an interaction map in the Nexalogy platform. It shows the activity between Twitter users on the #C2MTL hashtag. Gallop was represented in a big way, meaning she was very active and influential. But she was also talking with people, rather than just being talked about.

The size of the below dot representing Gallop’s Twitter account shows that by the end of the event, she was being mentioned and interacted with more than just about any other speaker. The blue color of the dot indicates that she was sending and receiving tweets – meaning she was the focus of real conversation. (Green dots indicate a user that is being mentioned, but isn’t interacting as much.)


Ideas that Caught on

C2MTL is a conference of ideas, but which ones stood out? Using a lexical map, we were able see the key concepts taking hold, and their relationship with each other. Not surprisingly, some of the top social media memes at C2MTL were the result of things said on stage. Here are three speaker quotes that stood out.

1. Mad Men to Math Men

SAP CMO Jonathan Becher hit home with this statement:

We saw it emerge as its own cluster on the lexical map, and it stayed strong throughout the event. This is illustrated by the connections between words, and the size of each node:


In the end this was one of the most talked about quotes from C2MTL.

2. Broken iPad

Noreena Hertz had many quotable moments in her talk on the first day. One that jumped out was an anecdote she told about her young niece:

We saw from the lexical map that it ended up being discussed by many people who were not connected to the #C2MTL hashtag, meaning Hertz’s iPad comment spread farther than the conference community: 4

3. Doggy Daycare

Zappos’ Tony Hseih had many great insights in his presentation, including, “A great brand is a story that never stops unfolding.” But we soon saw that his biggest meme was… doggy daycare:

When you think about it, this makes sense: it was by far the most requested amenity from his employees. So why wouldn’t it also be the most talked about part of his presentation? It seems humans everywhere love doggy daycare.


All About the Jameses

C2MTL lived up to its billing as an event all about commerce and creativity. The top two concepts discussed, aside from C2MTL itself, were “business” and “creativity.”

When looking at the core cluster of event concepts below, we see that C2MTL is also about ideas, innovation, and social media, among other concepts:


But what about that big concept labeled as ”Jame”? It has to do with two people.

The first is filmmaker James Cameron, who spoke and also announced that he and Cirque du Soleil would launch a world touring production of Avatar. The second “Jame” is James Murphy, the former LCD Soundsystem front man who did a DJ set one night.

The two Jameses generated a lot of discussion, and our system captured the root of their first names to indicate that.

That leads us to offer a bit of data-driven advice for next year’s event: More people named James!

(And more Cindy Gallop.)