Data Science

It’s the Journey, not the Destination...

It's been over a month since I blogged. So it's time for me to give you a little update. There are lots of exciting things going on—for me and for Lithium. I don't even know where to start. I supposed I will make a few announcements first, then move into the analysis of the #SoS2 tweets during the webcast 2 weeks ago.


The Science of Social 2

SoS2 world tour350.pngEver since the announcement was made at LiNC, I've been keeping my heads down writing, editing and rewriting. To be honest, writing wasn’t exactly my strength. It took me quite a lot of time to put words on paper. And the book has been consuming most of my weekends and burning all of my midnight oils—that’s why I haven't been blogging.


Scientific writing is different from creative writing or journalism. It needs to engage the audience emotionally and spark their intellectual curiosity. However, the writing must also be extremely accurate, precise and consistent—in other words, it must somewhat boring—at the same time. So writing the science of social 2 (SoS2) has been quite a challenge.


I'm happy to say that as of last week (the week of June 3rd), all the textual components of the book is done (including front and back matters, such as the table of contents, etc.). So the book is now officially out of my hands. I've been working with the creative team at Lithium over the past few months on the figures for the book, and we’ve just finalized all of them. The book is now in final copy edit and is ready to be formatted for final layout. Soon, it will be here.


The New Lithium SF

p8 May-31-13 Lithium SF21.pngLast week Lithium had a new home in SF. Since I will be traveling right after our move-in date, I visited the space May 31st (the Friday before our official move). While there are still people working on the final touches, most of the office fixtures were complete and ready to welcome us.


It's a beautiful space in the old Standards Oils Building. But it was completely gutted, redesigned and rebuilt like a modern tech company. See for yourself. Every element of the office was designed thoughtfully with a good combination of form and function that accentuates our bold innovation and complements the heritage and history of the building. It’s definitely contrasting, but not clashing.


Most of all it’s a very collaborative space with lots of common areas for casual conversations and meetings. Everything is very transparent. Even our CEO—in fact, all our executives—doesn’t have an office. The execs sit with the rest of us in our collaborative cubicles, too.


SoS2 World Tour

Last Thursday was the beginning of a long journey for me. I'll be on a worldwide pre-launch tour for the next 1½ months. It starts with London last week, and today Paris, then Munich, Zurich, Singapore, New York, San Francisco, and then finally a short break before the tour ends in Sydney. Of course, I’ll be talking about SoS2, but there are also plenty of opportunities to talk to customers, prospects, journalists, and more.


As exciting as this sound, it was actually quite stressful trying to prepare for all the different talks, meetings, and do my job at the same time. Moreover, in the middle of the SoS2 prelaunch tour, I was also invited to speak at the Global eGov Exchange during imbX—which is the largest technology and media gathering in Asia: incorporating CommunicAsia, BroadcastAsia, Enterprise IT, etc.


So if you are on my flight path, please stop by and say hello.


Webcast #SoS2 Tweet Analysis

The prelaunch of SoS2 really started couple weeks ago with our Get Serious about Social webcast series on Thursday, May 30th. During the webcast, I promise the audience that the top 10 tweeters of using the hashtag #SoS2 will get a signed and personalized copy of SoS2. Although I’ve collected the data and analyzed it last week, I simply couldn’t find time to write a post to present the results while preparing for the world tour. So I must apologize to all of you, in case you’ve been waiting for results of this tweeting contest. But here you go...


Some basic stats for the #SoS2 tweets during the 1 hour webcast (you can download the tweets I collected on May 30th 11am, too):


     Total of 241 tweets: Not too bad from a 50 minute B2B webcast

     Unique tweeters: 46


Since the webcast is recorded, I want to give those viewers who couldn't make the hour a fair chance to participate. So I pull the tweets again 2 days after the webcast (you can download the data I collected on June 1st, also). However, not a whole lot of people tweeted while watching the recorded webcast.


     Total tweets only increase from 241 to 260

     Number of unique tweeters only increased from 46 to 50


So I’ve decided to do the analysis on the dataset I pulled shortly after the webcast (on May 30th, 11am) and examine the additional tweets collected on June 1st, 2pm later.


Top tweeters are typically computed as the users who tweeted the most number of times. That is easy to compute, since we just need to count the number of tweets from a particular user and then do a sort. The top 4 tweeters under this simple criterion are:

pisarose      sent 26 tweets

LenDeBaets    sent 26 tweets

eileen4n      sent 24 tweets

CATrio        sent 21 tweets


During the webcast, I also said that In addition to the traditional method, I will also use more interesting metrics to determine who the “top” tweeters are. So I've created an interaction graph to see who has interacted with whom on twitter during the webcast. This allowed us to compute more sophisticated metrics based on the interaction between users rather than just the sheer volume of tweets they produced.

tw graph 2013-05-30-11 #sos2_a_degOut.png

For example, instead of finding the most prolific tweeters, we can find the most collaborative tweeter. These are users who interacted with (i.e. retweeted or mentioned) the greatest number of other users. If I map the size of the avatar to this metric, you can clear see that I’m not very collaborative at all during the webcast. But this is obvious, because I was speaking and cannot interact with other user. But the 4 most collaborative tweeters are:

pisarose       retweeted or mentioned 6 other users

LenDeBaets     retweeted or mentioned 5 other users

SmarterCafe    retweeted or mentioned 5 other users

CATrio         retweeted or mentioned 4 other users


Moreover, we can also find the 4 most retweeted/mentioned users from the interaction graph. If I map this metric to the size of the avatar, then I (@mich8elwu) was the top user this time. But this result is biased because I was the speaker, and Lithium (@lithiumtech) is the hosting company for this webcast. To be fair, I must remove these users from the contest. And I’ve listed the 4 subsequent users under this metric:

mich8elwu       RTed/mentioned 94 times

lithiumtech     RTed/mentioned 34 times

pisarose        RTed/mentioned 10 times

scoutberlin     RTed/mentioned 9 times

eileen4n        RTed/mentioned 4 times

indasein        RTed/mentioned 4 times

tw graph 2013-05-30-11 #sos2_a_degIn.png

With the interaction graph, we can even find the most popular user (i.e. those who was retweeted/mentioned by the most users). Again, I must remove myself as well as @btsite, since we were the presenters. Note that being retweeted/mentioned by the most users is not the same thing as being retweeted/menteioned the most. You may have 1 friend who retweeted you 1000x, making you the most retweeted user, but still there is only 1 user retweeted/mentioned you, which can’t really qualify you as being the most popular. Besides the users who won under other criteria, and those excluded from this contest, here are 2 more winners:

mich8elwu      RTed/mentioned by 17 others

scoutberlin    RTed/mentioned by 10 others

pisarose       RTed/mentioned by 8 others

eileen4n       RTed/mentioned by 5 others

orgnet         RTed/mentioned by 5 others

btsite         RTed/mentioned by 4 others

Allencito      RTed/mentioned by 3 others


So far we have 9 winners. To encourage those who watch the recorded webcast to tweet and continue to participate, I like to give the last personalized copy of SoS2 to the “top” tweeters who haven’t already been selected by previous criteria. There I basically did the same analysis as above but on the dataset I collected on June 1st. Rather than listing out all the repeated winners again, I’m just going to tell you that the winner there is: lolagoetz


Webcast #SoS2 “Top” Tweeters

sos2 cover_px250.pngSo the list of 10 “top” #SoS2 tweeters from the webcast are:

  1. pisarose
  2. LenDeBaets
  3. eileen4n
  4. CATrio
  5. SmarterCafe
  6. scoutberlin
  7. indasein
  8. orgnet
  9. Allencito
  10. lolagoetz

Congrats! And you will get a personalized copy of SoS2 for you, once it’s released. And it will be coming to you soon. Stay tuned.



So you might wonder what all these have anything to do with the title of this blog post. Of all the things I talked about in this post, it’s actually the journey, not the final result that makes them interesting. Whether it’s spending hours and hours writing and editing SoS2, or doing the actual analysis to figure out who’s the winner of the webcast #SoS2 tweeter, the process of doing it and experiencing the challenges is what made the who experience interesting, special and rather unique. I’m actually writing this blog post at the CDG airport while I was waiting for my flight to MUC, the next stop of my SoS2 pre-launch journey.


Just remember, there are many different way to get to a destination, why not make yours an interesting way? Alright, there are lots of interesting things from the first 2 stops of the SoS2 pre-launch tour. If time permits, I will write another update soon. See you next time.



Michael Wu, Ph.D.mwu_whiteKangolHat_blog.jpg is CRM2010MKTAWRD_influentials.pngLithium's Chief Scientist. His research includes: deriving insights from big data, understanding the behavioral economics of gamification, engaging + finding true social media influencers, developing predictive + actionable social analytics algorithms, social CRM, and using cyber anthropology + social network analysis to unravel the collective dynamics of communities + social networks.


Michael was voted a 2010 Influential Leader by CRM Magazine for his work on predictive social analytics + its application to Social CRM. He's a blogger on Lithosphere, and you can follow him @mich8elwu or Google+.


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1 Comment

Hi Michael! I'm excited for the new book. I stumbled across you and your work about a month ago and it's been very inspiring and refreshing to read through it all (yes, I went back to the first blog in 2009 and ahve been reading a bunch every week).


I also bought the first SoS book - congrats to you and your team for articulating your findings in such a consice manner!


The reason I'm so thrilled to have found your work is because I can relate to almost all of it in some way. I have been a superuser myself - in a very vibrant online community, back in the olden days of 2004-2010 or so. So I have a very deep appreciation for the power of social communities, and always bristle a little when I hear the term "community" tossed around without consideration. 


My undergraduate degree is in social psychology (BSc), where I was exposed to lots of stats and the scientific method. My graduate degree is in business, where I focussed on social media marketing. I currently work for a boutique social/digital agency in Toronto... where I am leading a fairly new Social Listening and Analytics practice.


Soooo pretty much every single topic you touch on is relevant to me. Like you mention in your previous blog mini-series, so much of what I see is simple and ultimately unhelpful descriptive stats... and don't even try to explain something like "p-value" to anyone, they zone out immediately! But the data will prevail in the end, I believe, and the companies with the best models will very soon find themselves in a very strong (read: unbeatable) position once the relevant industries (influencer marketing, social listening, etc.) start to crawl out of infancy. You and I know that this will probably happen at an accelerated pace... so I'm always anxious about being left behind Smiley Happy


Now that I'm caught up, I'll be eager to hear what you've been working on most recently.





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