Howzat? : don’t be caught out by social media

All cricket eyes, of both ‘tragics’ and casual observers, are on our corner of the globe as Australia hosts the Cricket World Cup alongside New Zealand. As is the case now with any modern sporting event, there is a deluge of activity flowing through social media platforms, as armchair punters pledge support for their favourite teams and players, muse over obscure statistical facts or bemoan their side’s latest embarrassment.

The community and global conversation about events is powered by social media. To make sense of all this, our Data & Analytics team is  piecing together the millions of mentions stemming from the thumbs of Twitterers and Facebookers, aided by the proprietary software of Bottlenose.

We are generating findings about what is keeping fans awake at night and which players are forging new powerful brands through performances on cricket’s grandest stage.

Already we’ve seen the dominance of the Indian and Pakistani voices throughout the tournament, their best players are treated like demigods, who will receive glowing praise of their ability irrespective of how they perform. Australian, New Zealand and South African players have to smash a century or take a bag of wickets to gain any attention, while the Englishmen are copping a verbal barrage from dissatisfied countrymen and gloating opposing fans, who are delighting in frailties exhibited by the old enemy.

Key administrators, coaches and the odd celebrity have committed faux pas that have earned the ire of social media users. No doubt, they will keep their heads below the parapet for the next four weeks,

Interestingly, the official tournament sponsors are gaining modest returns while most of the headway is being made by guerrilla campaigns which have creatively found a way to be a hot topic of conversation.

Major sporting events are good demonstrations of the importance of social media analytics; understanding how you can get value from all the data generated by these social media discussions. If it isn’t sport, it’s an environmental catastrophe, a celebrity scandal, any event that captures people’s interest, which illustrates that social media is reflective of real world opinions and a huge source of interactive communication.

It’s interesting to look at, sure. But just as social media is about breaking news – major trends in themes and also sentiment – it is also about emerging topics of conversation, the embers that could ignite a firestorm, where a single comment could rapidly alter the discussion. This data is crucial in informing various elements of enterprise risk management and opportunities in the market.

Essentially, social media analysis is about seeing the unseen.

It is taking modest conversations with a healthy level of seriousness with a realisation that they might be reflective of a broader sentiment, or the precursor to something big.

In our analysis of the Cricket World Cup there have been few surprises, after all it is televised to a legion of fervent fans.  But social media analytics for clients whose issues are at the community level, the customer level, or discussed intensely within a network of industry experts is where the real surprises are.

Flying with a good radar is important, but social media analytics is the soundest technique to avoid being caught out.


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