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:

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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.)

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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.)

What happens when social data meet statistical analysis

As the old saying goes, sometimes people miss the forest for the trees.

It means they’re too focused on a small aspect and miss the bigger picture. When it comes to analyzing social media, however, the only way to gain true insights is to examine the forest and the trees.

You need to recognize the big patterns (the forest) as well as investigate specific pieces of content that make up the whole (the trees).

One of our best tools for enabling customers to see the forest and the trees is the lexical map.

The Lexical Map

A lexical map is what happens when social data meet statistical analysis. The map uses a large data set — tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts etc. — and illustrates the concepts that emerge, and how they’re connected to each other.

Concepts are automatically sized based on the volume of data behind them. The more times a word is repeated in the data, the bigger it is on the map. Here’s an example of a lexical map at what we might call the forest level:

 

A lexical map of Twitter discussions about the Montreal Canadiens hockey team.

“When we collect the data the system reads every word,” says Nexalogy Chief Analyst Zach Devereaux. “As it’s processing something such as blog posts or tweets, it’s assigning values to the words used, determining how frequently they appear within the data set. It also analyzes how often a term is used in conjunction with other terms and then visualizes the network based on their connections.”

The clusters of concepts are a result of this process. With the map generated, it’s up to our analysts to begin interpreting and scoring the data. They zoom in on concepts and read the content associated with them.

Conversation Sculpting

Nexalogy CEO Claude Théoret says that social data is “a raw material that can be collected, stored, carved and sculpted into new objects with a purpose.”

That’s what our team does with a lexical map: we sculpt the results into something that reveals key insights. This process involves using our software to view the content (such as tweets or blog posts) associated with specific concepts.

“It’s about making sure you have a data set that represents the problem at hand,” says Mark Goren, Nexalogy Director of Client Services. “We’re looking for authentic conversations and voices that enable us to derive insights from the aggregate of all the data. With the map, we see the relationships not just between the words themselves but the content behind it. That’s very powerful.”

Ultimately, he says, “we sculpt the data to hone in on the content that helps us solve the client’s problem.”

Here are two of examples of doing that.

Customer Insights: Terra20

Terra20 is a retailer of environmentally friendly products with stores in Ontario. Prior to opening its first location in Ottawa, Terra20 asked Nexalogy to analyze blog posts from female bloggers in the target market. The goal was to understand more about what local mothers care about, how they talk about environmental and health issues, and to determine a smart strategy to reach them on their own terms.

Nexalogy designed a blog search to pull in posts that contained mentions of motherhood and parenting in an eco-friendly context. The team then examined the data on a lexical map to extract the top concepts from these blog posts. What emerged was a picture of concerns and passions that fell into four categories: family, the environment, home, and health and product purchases. You can see them labeled on the below map:

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The team was able to drill down and see what the people were talking about in each area, and to even generate lists of the specific brands and products they were talking about.

This, along with additional information about the womens’ views regarding green products, was key intelligence for Terra20’s social and product launch strategies. It helped them ensure a successful launch.

Needle in the Haystack: Petro-Canada

Another project where a lexical map delivered real insight was when Petro-Canada engaged Nexalogy to provide a detailed examination of its reputation on social media. There was simply too much information on blogs and elsewhere for them to process it and extract key insights efficiently.

Nexalogy conducted a search of Canadian bloggers and the conversations taking place around Petro-Canada, its projects and issues.

By closely examining the map and the conversations represented, Nexalogy was able to identify an emerging issue prior to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The relevant concepts are highlighted in this map:

Nexalogy identified an ongoing and accelerating discussion taking place around native land rights and the Games. The map showed how the relevant concepts were connected, and Nexalogy analysts dug deeper to read the specific blog posts.

“The discussion around land rights wasn’t the biggest conversation on the map — but that’s the point,” says Goren. “It was an early warning of something important, and it came long before this issue hit the press and the public consciousness. The map enabled us to locate that faint but essential signal.”

The result was that Petro-Canada’s risk management team was able to refocus their efforts around this emerging issue, and avoid a possible public relations issue.

You can quickly generate a lexical map based on activity in your Twitter timeline by using our free NexaMe tool or HootSuite app. If you want a more detailed demo, just get in touch.

Nexalogy CEO Claude Théoret’s transition from studying black holes to analyzing social data

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.