Digital Economy USRG

Silicon Valley comes to Southampton StartUp Weekend

Avatar photoOctober 31, 2012
by Lisa Harris

On 9th – 11th November Southampton University will be hosting a Silicon Valley comes to UK 2012 StartUp Weekend. It is a 56-hour, non-stop national competition where teams with individuals holding different skill sets compete to build a successful start-up business. The winner of last year’s event was Alejandro Saucedo from Southampton, and he is organising this year’s event with Petar Trifonov and Mariam Elbadri, one of our Student Digital Champions. Click here to register and for further details.

What is amazing about this year’s event is that Startup Weekend and Silicon Valley comes to the UK are teaming up to bring the craziness of the events simultaneously in London, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton and Cambridge. These events will bring together developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups!

The teams will be free to work on any startup they want but they have to use Open Data and hence they will have access to UK government data sets from to build startups. Participants will use this data to produce high impact applications/websites to unlock the power of public data to help “rewrite the rules of the new economy”.

A few days after the event, the top startups will be invited to attend an exclusive awards ceremony in central London and will also get the chance to fight in the Global Startup Battle taking place between the 130 Startup Weekend events. Last year the awards were presented by David Cameron. Prizes included a fully paid trip to Silicon Valley, California, where winners had the amazing opportunity to visit companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, between many others.

Digital Literacy Workshops

Avatar photoOctober 27, 2012
by Lisa Harris

Staff and students are all welcome to attend our upcoming workshops. More information and booking forms can be found here

These events are organised by Fiona Harvey from the Centre for Innovation in Technology and Education (CITE) and myself. They are run as informal discussions (with cake!) and include a number of short presentations – some from our Student Digital Champions

The workshops are also forming a test bed of ideas and links for our Curriculum Innovation module – Living and Working on the Web – which starts in February 2013.

Summary of #WebScience activity at Digital Futures Conference #DE2012

Avatar photoOctober 25, 2012
by Lisa Harris

Web Science researchers from the University of Southampton were out in force at the Digital Futures Conference in Aberdeen this week. Nicole Beale has produced a great Storify which summarises the work they presented and the associated conference activities.
Read the rest of this entry →

The DE USRG at Digital Futures 2012 – DE All Hands

October 18, 2012
by Graeme Earl

The DE USRG will be represented by approximately 16 delegates at Digital Futures 2012 next week, all of whom are involved in posters, papers, or demos. These include seven papers, demos or posters by students from the RCUK DE Web Science DTC.


Delivering the Smart Grid: How digital technologies can change the way we generate, consume and think about energy – Alex Rogers



Ramine has also been examining the twitter activity around #de2012. More details of the methods employed are introduced in the following eprint and also explained on the #SxSC2 social media post.

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 #de2012 tweet network by @raminetinati.


Other Web Science DTC students in attendance

You can follow the @sotonDE people attending Digital Futures 2012 via our DigitalFutures list.

The role of social media at the Creative Digifest #SXSC2

Avatar photoOctober 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

The first of the Web Science debate series of the 2012-13 academic year 17.10.2012 - 17.10.2012

“This house believes that privacy is not worth paying for”

Tim Davies      Dominic Hobson      Mark Frank      Maire Evans      Jack Townsend

Everyone welcome        Sandwiches and danishes

Would you like to speak briefly at a future debate? If so contact Jack Townsend.

Storifys from #SxSC2

October 15, 2012
by Graeme Earl

We are starting to hear about storifys being created for #SxSC2. Please contact us to add to the list below.

Storify by Amir AryaCreative DigiFest #SxSC2: “Here’s a catch-up on Creative DigiFest #SxSC2, the event that was organised on 11 October 2012 with the main theme of technology developments in digital world…”

Storify by C01Creative DigiFest #SXSC 2: “University of Southampton 11 October 2012:…”

Storify by  – Creative DigiFest #SXSC 2 (11.10.2012): “How are digital networks transforming our lives? What can the latest technologies do for you? @University of Southampton…” by Evi Sopasi

“Nothing is what is seems when it’s free …”

October 12, 2012
by Karen Woods

Sage words from Mike Lister, one of the panel members at SXSC2. How many of us have been seduced into attending a boring meeting by the promise of a quality buffet or a glass of decent wine? Or maybe you’ve handed over your personal details to a website in exchange for a 20 per cent voucher off the price of something or other? Surely there’s no harm in Facebook, Google etc because they are useful services and, besides, they are free?
The marketing guru added a commercial perspective to the discussions on the future of digital technologies. Earlier, keynote speaker and author of Digital Vertigo, Andrew Keen (who wasn’t too upset at being dubbed ‘the antichrist of the Internet’) called for us to “fight again the economy of free” and urged debate on new business models and the urgency for widespread data literacy, before all our personal information ends up in the virtual vaults of the big social media companies. He even asked us to think seriously about government restrictions on the free market of information.
According to Mike, Facebook isn’t a social network, it’s an advertising stream: Google isn’t a search engine, it’s an avid collector of personal information for its own financial devices.
According to Andrew, many web marketeers think ‘privacy is for old people – like a gas light, it will just fade away’.
Food for thought? Prawn vol-au-vent anyone?

#SxSC2 live stream

October 11, 2012
by Graeme Earl

#SxSC2 is now finished. Many thanks indeed to the hundreds of you who attended, both physically and virtually, and for all the social media contributions. We will make the videos recorded during the day available in the next few days, and there will be lots of storifys and other follow-ups. Thanks again. Hope to see you all at #SxSC3 :-)

#SxSC2 bio tag clouds

October 11, 2012
by Graeme Earl

Here is a tag cloud representing many of the answers we received from the speakers at #SxSC. They were produced by Tom Frankland whose PhD forms part of the RCUK DE PATINA project:

“I’m interested by whether tagclouds can be used to promote group awareness. On an archaeological site conversations occur in many forms, and over the last 10 years at Catalhoyuk, Turkey, archaeologists have been using diaries as a way to communicate with one another. By combining natural language processing with visualisation, my research explores whether tagclouds generated from these diary entries can bring people together and open up new channels of communication.”

You can read all the bios here.

SxSC2 tag cloud