Rugby And Oil

This past week has seen two significant events in New Zealand. The first being the quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup in a nation that is mad about the sport.

The second is grounding of a large container ship offshore from a pristine area of foreshore and the resulting environmental disaster caused by leaking oil.

Given the environmental concerns one would have thought that oil would be thicker than water, or in this case, sport.

A snapshot of social media, in this case Twitter shows how one concern has outstripped the other. The chart below demonstrates the topic interest in New Zealand, midday on October 11th. Rena is the name of the ship that ran aground. Rugby topics are highlighted in yellow.

Not surprisingly it is the environmental agencies such as Greenpeace and Bird Rescue who are the most vocal and being a month out from a general election the Green Party is also using the opportunity to push its message.

Topic Cloud

Even more interesting is the cross connection between conversational topics as can be seen in this visual chart from Social Collider which mapped 2,317 conversations.

Click on the image to see the larger chart

The SocialCollider reveals cross-connections between conversations on Twitter. Particles are mapped two dimensionally based on their position in time (vertical axis) and search query ID (horizontally).

Detailed section

Search results of each query are automatically connected vertically via smooth, curvy B-splines in the same color. If results from different queries are somehow related a spiral is first drawn around the older particle but will eventually connect the other related particles horizontally.

The size of the spiral corresponds to the number of cross-connections the related message/tweet has accumulated.

Posts that didn’t resonate with anyone just connect to the next item in the stream. The ones that did, however, spin off and horizontally link to users or topics who relate to them, either directly or in terms of their content.

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About thedigitalconsultant

Roger Smith is a retired international, digital consultant and former British Council Director of Online Operations within the East Asia region.
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