Twitter Use at #STC10 Summit

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Twitter Use at #STC10 Summit

Category:Infosec Communicator,STC,Summit

One of the more surprising things to me at the STC Summit conference this year was the frequent use of Twitter. It was used for arranging informal and “official” Tweetups and for summarizing the content of various sessions. It seemed like there were a lot of different people tweeting, but I wasn’t sure how many people were involved and exactly what they were tweeting about. Although I didn’t conduct a rigorous analysis, I think the results are interesting.

Methodology and results

I set up an RSS feed in Google Reader prior to the conference so I wouldn’t “miss anything.”  Google Reader provided the following Twitter frequency graph. (The orange bar is the number of tweets I had read.)

summit 10 twitters

Graph of Twitter use during and immediately after Summit STC10

After manually exporting the tweets from the Google Reader RSS feed to a notepad file and removing the hash tags “#stc10” and “#stc11,” I produced the Wordle below. (And yes, I’m sure there was a better way to do this!)

Summit STC10 Tweets

Wordle of the tweets containing #stc10 or #stc11 from 4/30 through 5/6/10

Using the online word frequency analyzer and phrase analyzer at http://www.writewords.org.uk, I was able to get a sense of whose Twitter handles appeared most frequently at Summit.

Top Ten Eleven Twitter Handles (Occurrences)

125 techcom
108 afox98
85 bwoelk
83 whitneyhess
80 willsansbury
79 techcommdood
68 suredoc
65 stc_org
63 debdebtig
63 sushiblu + jgillenwater87
58 ninety7

Selected Keywords (Occurrences)

434 stc
339 rt
121 great
106 sig
95 dallas
89 summit
69 content
67 session
67 good
64 conference
43 tweetup
41 community
31 dinner

Negative Words (Occurrences)

10 bad
3 terrible
1 sucks
1 suffering

Contrary to some expectations, “beer” was not the most commonly used word in the tweets appearing only 13 times. (I’m not sure if there’s any correlation, but “karaoke” also appeared 13 times.)

Conclusions

In my opinion, Twitter provided a sense of community and a “conference within a conference.” Most tweets were positive, implying that many of the Twitter users enjoyed the conference. Very few of the tweets were negative, and usually referred to specific sessions or problems with the site for the Tweetup. Personally, I found that using Twitter enabled me to make connections that I never would have attempted had they started face to face.

Prior to Summit, I had not been a heavy Twitter user, although I had tied postings from two Facebook Pages I administer,  RIT Information Security and STC Rochester,  to Twitter accounts.  I look forward to using it at future conferences and seeing what new connections it enables.

The “raw” data is available upon request.


8 Comments

Twitter at STC 2011 Summit | Write Techie

May 23, 2011at 9:32 pm

[…] Ben Woelk’s post, “Twitter Use at #STC11 Summit,” I’m unsure how to respond to being one of the top 10 Twitter updaters for the […]

Twitter Use at #STC11 Summit « Infosec Communicator

May 22, 2011at 9:39 pm

[…] year, I kicked off this blog by posting about Twitter Use at the #STC10 Summit in Dallas. I thought it would be interesting to look at Twitter use at #STC11 as […]

John Hedtke

May 16, 2010at 1:41 pm

Having just gotten my Droid the week before the conference, I’m still getting used to tweeting as I go (read “becoming a part of this decade”). But even as a noob, I found this to be a valuable addition on many levels and I enjoyed it terrifically, not the least of which being that I finally got to meet Tony Chung face-to-face.

    benwoelk

    May 18, 2010at 3:15 pm

    John,
    I was tweeting from my recently acquired Droid as well. With no wireless, it made for a great way to communicate.
    Ben

Sarah Bourne

May 16, 2010at 9:40 am

As an outsider looking at your top words, I see there was a great STC conference in Dallas. I’ll bet you can find more gold in your raw data!

Further analysis might show you useful things like which sessions were most valuable or which were most contentious. This kind of information can help you decide what kinds of sessions you want to propose or which sessions you want to go to at the next conference.

As a starter, I noticed the giant “RT” in your wordle. In many cases, retweets are from people who are not actually at the event, but are from people following the event on twitter. To find out how people at the conference are using Twitter, you can scan the retweets to see if “RT” should also be filtered out. Likewise, an analysis of just retweets can give you insights into what outside observers found valuable.

Hope you find some more nice nuggets in your gold mine!

    benwoelk

    May 16, 2010at 10:05 pm

    Sarah,
    I left the RT in the Wordle because I felt like it really caught the flavor of Twitter use at the conference. Several people mentioned on Twitter that they were not at the conference but were really enjoying following it through the tweets. However, at a first look, most of the “retweeters” were actually at the conference.
    Ben

benwoelk

May 16, 2010at 1:17 am

Updated stats to reflect @jgillenwater87 changing Twitter handle to @sushiblu

Tony Chung

May 15, 2010at 10:06 pm

LOL! As @techcom I am pretty excited to see that my handle came up the most in your report. This is funny because I didn’t really use Twitter all that actively until the Summit.

I find the excessive naval gazing and shameless self-promotion that Twitter proliferates absolutely turns me off the service. However, the week of the Summit I learned that it still excels at its primary purpose: helping people to find like minds to open doorways for communication. Twitter is really effective in cutting through small talk before the initial face-to-face meeting IRL.

My conversations with other Twitter users bypassed the superficial, because we had already shared thoughts on a professional and personal level somewhere in the ether. Rather than opening with a general, “So how’s the weather in South Carolina?” My first question was: “What are the biggest challenges you face in your role at work?” No lie.

I should also add that I benefited from other users’ willingness to put themselves “out there”. While Twitter opened the door, my first connection eventually contacted me on my cell phone. As our group expanded, we called and texted each other throughout the conference.

Had I found a decent mobile internet package while in Dallas, I would have used Twitter on my cell phone a lot more. I hope to be better prepared for Sacramento in 2011.

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