Digital Economy USRG

The role of social media at the Creative Digifest #SXSC2

Lisa HarrisOctober 15, 2012
by Lisa Harris

The #SxSC2 event provided us with an additional opportunity to develop our DE USRG SMiLE project. The Social Media in Live Events project is exploring the practical, ethical, policy, data mining and management issues surrounding the use of technologies such as twitter and Facebook as a deliberate component in events. The project began with the planning of the CAA 2012 conference in early 2012. For the #SxSC2 event we were keen to build on the lessons learned from CAA2012. In particular:

  1. Build a community around the event in advance e.g. via the successive bio blog posts added each day for the two weeks prior to #SxSC2, and creation of #SxSC2 twitter lists to help attendees to follow other attendees and speakers before and after the event.
  2. Encourage attendees with no social media experience to learn more about it and, if wanted, provide a quick introduction to tools such as twitter.
  3. Provide practical support for extensive social media use e.g. charging stations, signs detailing hash tags etc.
  4. Raise awareness of issues raised via social media during the meeting in a way that exposed them to non-SM users e.g. use of on screens and subsequent storifys
  5. Share video interviews and photographs with linked SM straight after the event to help communication of key ideas
  6. Create a social media archive of the event and demonstrate the potential of such an archive, particularly in the context of work by the Web Observatory and in relation to the JISC DataPool project.
  7. Encourage users to meet one-another physically, building on SM connections e.g. by printing SM icons on delegate badges.

The #digichamps played a vital role throughout the #SxSC2 event, organising, training, capturing and editing content and developing the community. You can learn more about their activities on the Digital Champions pages.

However, we didn’t manage to do everything that we planned. For example, we had hoped to print out emerging issues and enable users to meet physically in areas designated via hash tags used in the twitter feed. We could also have made far greater use of’s extensive functionality as a means to add gamification components to #SxSC2. We had discussed various means to encourage physical meetings including use of mobile phone apps. to help serendipitous and deliberate encounters. Each of these will be explored further as we plan for #SxSC3.


We are collating a list of #SxSC2 storifys.

Photos from the event are available sotonDE flickr stream.

You can access the #SxSC2 page on There is also a post by the team about the event.

Creative Digifest top trending on Twitter in the UK with Leaderboarded

All those who tweeted with the event hash tag #SxSC2 got into the event leaderboard. The players’ performance was ranked by their Twitter activity, Kred influence and Kred outreach weighted 40/30/30 correspondingly. The trendiness attracted lots of spambots, which were easily excluded from within the Leaderboarded application. [] (12th October)


A total of 222 people registered to attend the #SxSC2 event and approximately 200 attended, with a quarter being external guests from a wide range of industries. The internal attendees came from across the University of Southampton.

So far there have been 109 views of the films (which are available at

The streaming video during the event was watched at least 68 times. We have edited footage that can be viewed from SUSU.TV including recordings of all talks. We are exploring ways to link the video content to the social media content that surrounded it.

The sotonDE blog received 554 new visitors in the week of the conference, and it crept onto the first page of a search for ‘digital economy’.

During the event there were 59 shares of the live feed, 99 of the bio pages (in total), 144 of the programme of SxSC2 and 21 of the pre-event videos.

We have started to analyse the social media activity, starting with the twitter feed. As part of the JISC DataPool we established an internal ePrints archive of #SxSC2 tweets. So far this holds a total of 1908 tweets. Here is some summary information:

Top Hashtags

#sxsc2 762
#SXSC2 694
#SxSC2 448
#digichamps 44
#digitalvertigo 21
#webscience 17
#keen 15
#SxSc2 11
#privacy 11
#DigiChamps 11
#sxsc 10
#WebScience 10
#digitallite… 9
#susutvcomme… 9
#portusproject 9
#DigitalVertigo 7
#digichamp 7
#SocialMedia 7
#unisouthampton 7
#WebObservatory 7
#webobservatory 7
#ReasonsWhyI… 6
#multisoton 6
#digitalsurrey 6
#Sxsc2 6
#SMiLE 5
#tagcloud 5
#creativedig… 5
#exciting 5
#equality 5
#Creative 4
#fote12 4
#siliconvalley 4
#somethingus… 4
#wiset 4
#Digichamps 4
#TheIncredibles 4
#socialmedia 4
#Digital 4
#fireupyourf… 3

Top Mentions

@ajkeen 238
@lisaharris 125
@unisouthampton 90
@SxSC 83
@sotonDE 77
@amir_arya 72
@AbigailH 45
@DameWendyDBE 41
@fionajharvey 36
@doclorraine 36
@Farnooshbr 33
@katiepiatt 32
@madelinep 30
@C01Clem 29
@grace_epark 27
@raminetinati 26
@SUSUtv 26
@tobyberesford 25
@richardgomer 25
@multisoton 21
@lescarr 21
@CeliaLacy 19
@OlympicKelvin 19
@guy1067 17
@adders 16
@leaderboarded 16
@pPuuPpo 15
@FloBroderick 15
@ringmktgx 14
@IvanMelendezCh 14
@juliusduncan 13
@Imagenaciones 12

Retweet and Mention networks

As part of our collaboration with the Web Observatory Ramine Tinati from the RCUK DE WebSci DTC has undertaken some initial analysis:

“Below are some basic statistics, plus some network graphs of the Retweet and Mention networks. I’ve also included a ‘classified’ retweet network graph, which represents the highly retweeted, and well-connected users within the #sxsc2 conversation.

“The classified network retweet graph enables a much clearer view of who has been not only influential within the Twitter conversations, but also who might be worth following or aggregating, potentially acting as valuable sources of information or content. The Red nodes (circles) represent users who have been highly retweeted within the network, and the Yellow nodes are those that have been aggregators of this content. Other users (the blue and the green nodes) do play a supplementary role within this network, facilitating the spread of content (Tweets, URLs, media) within the Twitter conversation, but the roles we are interested in (for the purpose of the observer) are the red and yellow nodes. This analysis is scale independent, and is based upon the dynamic properties of individuals within a Twitter conversation network, rather than the volume of Tweets or their static friends/follower network.”

More details of the methods employed are introduced in the following eprint.

Identifying communicator roles in Twitter
Tinati, Ramine, Carr, Leslie, Hall, Wendy and Bentwood, Jonny (2012) Identifying communicator roles in Twitter. In, Mining Social Network Dynamics (MSND 2012), Lyon, FR, 16 – 20 Apr 2012. 8pp. (Submitted). []

Video showing evolving tweet network by @raminetinati

Categories: Blog and Creative DigiFest 2. Tags: #SMiLE, #SXSC, Creative DigiFest, and SXSC2.