#2011CanadaGames Online Social Media Campaign takes the Gold!

Canada Games Twitter Network Growth Skyrocketed!

If increased participation of sporting fans online is a measure for success, then the organizers of the Canada Games should win Gold! On the eve before the opening ceremony, Thursday, February 10th, the #2011CanadaGames Twitter network consisted of only 181 members. By Tuesday, February 22nd the network had grown by an astounding 318% and now includes over 700 active members. The increase is starkly apparent when you compare the network visualizations taken from each day.

#2011CanadaGames Twitter Network Visualization
each node (dot) = individual Twitterer
lines between nodes  = retweet/reply between individuals

Fig. 1:   Network Visualization, 10/02/2011

Fig. 2: Network Visualization, 22/02/2011

By far, the largest jump in network participation occurred during the first few days of the games, growing slightly more than 129% from February 10th to the 13th (from 181 to 415 participants). However, by the midpoint period between February 19th to the 22nd, the network grew by only 9% (from 694 to 757 participants), suggesting that the network rate of growth had slowed and that the network (membership) is stabilizing. Along with an increase in the number of participants in this network, there was also a large increase in the number of connections between the members in the form of retweets and replies to other people tweets.

Twitter Users and their Position within the Network

Below is a visualization of the same network as the one shown in Fig. 2, however, in this visualization (Fig. 3), the members of the network has been identified and labeled with different colors based upon their roles or status in real life: Social media volunteers [vol] are colored red, private individuals [indiv] are colored green, organizations [org] are colored light blue, and unidentified [unident] users are colored grey.

Fig. 3: Network broken out by role, 22/02/2011. Volunteers [vol] are colored red, individuals [indiv] are colored green, organizations [org] are colored light blue, and unidentified [unident] users are colored grey.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this visualization relates to the social media volunteers, colored in red. This “blog squad” was given the mandate by the Canada Games Council to promote and share information about the Games in social media networks (see Metro’s story, from February 10, 2011). The central position occupied by many members of the blog squad in the visualization above would suggest that the squad, headed by Christina Carew (@christinacarew), has largely fulfilled that mandate.

In fact, if we look at out-degree measurement which denotes ‘sources’ of information within the network, many of the volunteers had very high out-degree measurement, i.e. many of the volunteers were the sources or originators of unique and original content to the 2011 Canada Games Twitter network. Of particular note most recently, a social media volunteer @victorianickers was ranked the 7th based on the out-degree centrality. Fellow volunteers, @christinacarew, @cyrusrayne and @jdickie were also ranked the 8th, 15th, and 20th, in the out-degree centrality respectively. In a network comprised of 757 participants, earning 4 spots on the list of Top-20 -most influential twitterers  is very respectable indeed.

Well done, Canada Games Social Media volunteers!

* Philip Mai and Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd contributed to the analysis and writing of this report.

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